Did you know that more kids between ages 5-14 are injured after biking accidents than with any other sport? Check out these tips and guidelines to make sure that your child is safe while bike-riding.
When choosing a bike for your child, be sure to choose one that fits, not one that they can grow into (this rule applies for bike helmets too.) Your child's feet should be able to touch the ground while sitting on their seat.
- Make sure your child's breaks work well.
- Make sure the chain is oiled regularly.
- Make sure the tires have the right amount of pressure.
- Make sure the seat, handlebars, and wheels are all secured tightly.
Helmets Save Lives
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a helmet is "the most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes." Wearing a helmet has been proven to reduce severe brain injury by 88 percent. They save lives... you'd be crazy not to wear one!
- The helmet you buy should have a sticker on it stating that it meets the standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- Your child should not wear a hat underneath their helmet
- Make sure they wear their helmet every time they ride, even if it's for a short time. This includes other wheeled activities, like riding a scooter, roller skating, etc.
- Their helmet should fit properly- not too large or too small.
Dress Right for the Ride
Before your kids take off, check to make sure that they're not wearing anything that could get caught in the bike chain, like shoelaces or flowy pant legs.
Sneakers are the safest shoe that will help your child grip their bike pedals. Never let your child ride their bike bare foot.
Dress your child in bright clothing and make sure there are reflectors on the bike so they stand out to motorists.
Whether you live in the suburbs or on a city street, it is important that you discuss the rules of the road with your child...
- Riding in the daytime is the safest option. Avoid night time riding.- Be sure to stop and check for traffic in both directions.
- Ride in the direction of the traffic flow, not against it, and follow traffic rules.
- Ride on the right-hand side of the street, and use bike lanes when possible.
- Make eye contact with motorists.
- Make your own safe decisions- don't just follow your friends.
- Look out for hazards like broken glass, potholes, and dogs.
- Learn bike hand signals and communication
- Call out "Excuse me." Or "On your left!" when passing pedestrians. Hold up your hand to indicate turns to cars and other cyclists.
The most important thing you can do as a parent is to be a good example for your children and to practice what you preach. Wear a helmet when you ride your bike, & follow traffic rules, on your bike and in the car. Be sure to show respect and caution on the road at all times. And most importantly, have fun!