Children love riding their bicycles and by following the safety tips provided here, you can ensure that the enjoyment continues. KidsHealth.org reports about 300,000 kids go to the emergency room for bike accidents every year and nearly 10,000 of these kids have injuries serious enough to require a few nights stay in the hospital. Read below to find out how to keep your kids safe while enjoying their time on the open road or sidewalk.
The most important gear you can buy to protect your children is a helmet. A properly made and fitted helmet can protect your child's head, face and, most importantly, their brain. The government has created safety standards through the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure these helmets provide the necessary protection. You can be sure the helmet you have meets these standards if it has CPSC sticker on it. In addition, helmets need to be worn properly to truly protect your child. Make sure the helmet is worn level to cover the forehead and that the straps are secured for a snug fit.
Your child will be much safer riding a bike that is adjusted to fit them. A properly fit bike should have 1 to 3 inches between the top bar and the child if they are standing with both feet flat on the ground while they straddle the top bar. Parents should also check and make sure the brakes work well without any sticking and that seat, handlebars and wheels fit firmly. Lastly, regularly check the tires to ensure there is the right amount of tire pressure.
No matter what time of day it is, kids must always dress so they are visible to others. Bright or neon colors are always good at attracting attention as is the color white. If possible, children should avoid riding their bikes after dark. If for some reason they do ride at night, be sure the bike is equipped with reflectors to make it more noticeable to motorists and have them wear reflective clothing as well. Children must always remember just because they see a car doesn't mean the car can see them. Teach your children to be extra cautious when riding their bikes, even when they have the right of way.
Children should always be aware of their surroundings when they are riding their bikes. They should watch for parked cars, potholes, cracks and other road hazards and should never ride with their iPod or music playing in their ears.
A bicycle is considered a vehicle in many states, thus cyclists must follow the same rules as motorist. Teach your children to ride their bike on the right side of the road so they are going the same direction as the flow of traffic. Your child should also follow all traffic rules and signal to drivers before they change directions. If your child is ten years old or older, the safest place to ride their bike is on the street. However, if your child is less than ten, they may be better off riding on the sidewalk, but should remember to watch for vehicles coming in or out of driveways.