Cycle Safely

May marks #NationalBikeMonth. As you and your family hit the trails this spring and summer, ride safely by staying mindful of the following safety tips. 

Always Wear a Helmet 

It is important you and your family wear a helmet on every ride. Studies show helmets reduce the risk of severe brain damage by 88%. Be sure to purchase helmets that meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) standards. 

Check the Fit

A properly fitting bike helmet is critical for safe riding. A helmet should sit level on the head and shouldn’t tilt forward, backward or sideways. It should feel snug and cover the forehead, sitting one to two fingers above the eyebrows. The straps should form a "V" directly beneath the earlobes. We encourage you to watch the video below and to fit your helmet before your next ride.

Additional Tips

  • Buy a bicycle that is the right size. A rider’s feet should always be able to touch the ground. 
  • Place reflectors on the back, front and sides of your bike. 
  • Always ride with traffic (on the right-hand side of the road) and use hand signals when turning. 
  • Watch for uneven surfaces 
  • Wear tight, reflective clothing when riding so you can be easily seen, and so you do not get caught or snagged on your bike or other objects. 

Click here for additional bike safety tips.






Update: February 5, 2020BC Vandertoorn

Bothell Battalion Chief Becomes Washington State Task Force 1 Leader

In March of 2014, Battalion Chief Jim Vandertoorn received an unforgettable call. A devastating mudslide had struck the town of Oso and FEMA’s Washington State Task Force 1 Team was to deploy. When the team arrived at the scene, they spent weeks performing search and rescue operations. It was amidst the chaos and destruction, that fellow Task Force 1 members saw something unique in BC Vandertoorn.

What they saw was an innate ability to bring people together, an ability to lead. This year, one of six Washington State Task Force 1 Leader positions became available, and BC Vandertoorn was elected by fellow colleagues to carry the torch. This is an extremely rare and well-deserved opportunity. BC Vandertoorn says what excites him most about being a Task Force 1 Leader is having the opportunity to “serve his country by bringing departments together to accomplish life-saving goals.”


To date, BC Vandertoorn possesses more than 30 years of firefighting experience. At 16, he made the decision to pursue the fire service, and when he graduated high school, he joined a hot shot crew and traveled across the country fighting wildfires. 

BC Vandertoorn moved to Washington state in 1992 and a year later joined the Bothell Fire Department. BC Vandertoorn has always had a passion for “the craft and technical aspects of firefighting,” and he played a significant role in founding and leading Bothell Fire’s Technical Rescue Teams which specialize in confined spaces, rope, structural collapse, water and trench rescue. He also created the department’s first-ever wildland firefighting team and served as the team lead for over a decade. In 2010, BC Vandertoorn was given the chance to join the Washington State Task Force 1 team and that is when his journey with FEMA began.

As a department, we could not be prouder or more humbled to have such an experienced, driven and talented individual on our team. “Vandy” will excel in this new role and we’re thrilled that one of our own is saving lives across the country, and providing aid during some of the nation’s largest disasters.

Washington State Task Force 1              

Washington State Task Force 1 is one of FEMA’s 28 Urban Search and Rescue Teams (USAR). It is comprised of 280 personnel and broken into three separate rotations. Each rotation has two task force leaders who oversee 70 personnel. FEMA Task Forces deploy to all-hazard incidents when federal aid is requested.