When the snow melts the bicycles come out! I think just about everyone of us remembers being out playing with our friends and riding our bikes. Whether your kids are riding around the neighborhood or over to get ice cream, do you know if your children are doing it safely? Each year 300,000 children go to the emergency room for treatment from bicycle accidents with 10,000 of those requiring a hospital visit lasting a few days. By using these bike safety tips you can keep your child safe while they make childhood memories of their own!
- A bicycle helmet should be worn every single time your child gets on their bicycle.
- Make sure your helmet has a sticker inside from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). It will show that your helmet has met safety regulations.
- Your helmet should fit properly. A good fit means that it fits level on your head and two fingers above the eyebrows. The straps must lay flat and meet under the ears in a ‘V’ shape. The chin strap should be snug with a 1 finger gap between the chin and strap.
- If the helmet has any cracks, chips or damage you will need to replace it.
- Do not wear a hat under your helmet.
- Make your child’s helmet fun! Pick out their favorite color or with a fun design! Bicycle helmets should really be purchased in store so your child can try it on to ensure getting the proper fit.
- Check your child’s tires to make sure they are properly aired up. This is really important after the bike comes out of winter storage!
- Take a look at the brakes. Give them a quick test and make sure that they are not sticking.
- Watch the chain! You don’t want it to fall off while your child is riding! Keep an eye on it to see if it needs oil or adjusted.
- Have your child wear bright colored clothes to help drivers see them.
- Wearing the right clothes while biking can be important! Loose pants, untied shoelaces, backpack straps can all get stuck
- Avoid wearing headphones while biking. If your child can’t hear over their music they will not be able to hear important sounds such as cars.
- Make sure your kids know where they are allowed to ride. Teach them that even if they are on the sidewalk, they need to watch for cars. Especially baking in and out of their driveway!
- Talk to your child about what to do when they come up to someone on the sidewalk or bike trail. They should make sure the person knows that they are there. If they are able to pass them, they can announce that they are passing and indicate which side they will be passing on (left or right.)
- Bumps, ramps, stairs and potholes can all be very tempting for kids! But they can also be dangerous!
- Walk you bike across crosswalks and through parking lots. In parking lots, car doors can open suddenly so it’s best to walk your bicycle.
- Always ride on the right side of the road.
- Obey all traffic laws.
Fun Safety Gear Your Kids Will Love
Here are a few bike safety gear items your child will love!
- Bicycle lights – Choose your child’s favorite color and put them on their wheels!
- Bicycle bells – Chose from traditional or find something fun like this hamburger bell!
- Bicycle Flag – These are really important if your child is riding a low bicycle that could be hard for drivers to see.
- Knee and Elbow pads – Chose from a multitude of colors and patterns!