Biking and Children's Safety
Bicycle riding is an excellent source of fun and exercise for the entire family. You can ride in your neighborhood, in the park or on bike trails. One thing to remember is to take all safety precautions, whether alone or with children.
Children will enjoy anything that their parents do, especially when they are young. Biking falls into this category. If you have children who ride bikes, teach them how to be safe when they ride with you or without you.
First of all, be sure that your child can ride their bike. When first learning they may not be steady. Training wheels help with that, but even after they come off, it takes practice to get the hang of riding on all types of surfaces. Before you plan a family ride, be sure your child can handle their bike well.
* Helmets – A helmet is a must to protect the head and neck from injury. Many minor accidents on bikes become fatal when a helmet is not worn. Size the helmet to fit the head securely without too much wiggle room. You don’t want it to slide off in mid-ride.
* Pads – Kids do get scrapes and cuts when they fall off of bikes. Wearing appropriately-sized knee pads and elbow pads protects those bony prominences from injury.
* Reflective vests – When riding at night, it is hard to be seen if you are wearing dark clothing. But, you may not always feel like wearing white or another light color. To solve that problem, wear reflective vests so that you can be seen by oncoming and following traffic.
Before your first ride and every ride, check your bike for any problems. All bikes need tires that are inflated to the proper size according to the bike manufacturer. This can prevent blow-outs and falls.
Seats can be adjusted before you ride. If the seat is too hard, opt for a softer gel seat for comfort. Choose a height that allows your child to pedal without hitting their knees on the frame, but where they can also put their feet down quickly on the ground if they need to.
Check the brakes. Good brakes can make all the difference in traffic situations. You want the breaks to stop right away, even in the rain.
Teach your children the rules of the road before you go out to ride. Staying street smart can save lives.
Know your hand signals. This lets cars, that might try to pass you, know when you are about to stop or turn.
Ride with traffic. It is easier to avoid accidents when you are riding with the flow of traffic. And, use bike lanes whenever possible to give yourself more room.
Never ride close to parked cars. Kids don’t often think of this one in their neighborhoods, but it is a good tip. A door opening suddenly can propel your child off their bike and into the street. When your child rides a bike, teach them how to be safe so that they can have fun.