The feeling of complete freedom and a soft breeze blowing through your hair as you bike down a path on a peaceful sunny day is hard to resist for adults and kids alike. Bike riding offers a great way to have fun, exercise and appreciate the outdoors. But before you jump on and get ready to pedal, here are a few tips so you and your family can have fun and bike safely.
Reducing your risk of head injuries and death by 45% when bike riding isn’t too complicated; it’s as easy as choosing to wear the single most effective safety device: a properly-fitted helmet. According to www.safekids.org, a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children, even though properly-fitted helmets are important safety gear, less than half of children 14 and younger usually wear a bike helmet. If your child doesn’t usually wear a helmet, you need to express the importance of it to them; no matter their age, they need to wear one.
The hard part is that helmets aren’t one-size-fits-all. Here are some pointers to help you make sure you’re choosing the right helmet for your child:
- Helmets should be worn for all wheeled sports activities
- It needs to meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) standards for helmets
- Don’t buy a helmet meant for your child to grow into. Watch this video to learn how to easily and properly fit a bike helmet for your child: http://www.safekids.org/video/safety-seconds-bike-helmets
- Let your child pick out his own helmet; he’s more likely to wear it every time he goes riding because he chose it.
Once you have a helmet that properly fits, it’s time to review some bike safety tips with your child. Good bike safety behaviors include:
- Wear a helmet; you and your child. The helmet should fit properly, and your child should know how to wear it and how to put it on correctly.
- Wear bright colors and reflectors to help you be seen by motorists; especially when riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening.
- Kids should not wear loose or long clothing; it can cause a crash by getting caught in the bike chains or wheel spokes.
- Teach your child to be on alert for cars and trucks. Kids have difficulty judging speed and distance of cars until age 10, so have them stick to riding on sidewalks or bike paths until they get older. If sidewalks are inaccessible, ride in the same direction as traffic on the far right-hand side.
- Before going for a ride, check that the brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly and tires are properly secured and inflated.
- Teach children to make eye contact with drivers to make sure drivers are paying attention, and stop before they cross the road.
- Follow the rules of the road, and use hand signals. Don’t swerve or ride between cars.
- Go bike riding with your children until you are comfortable that they are ready to ride by themselves.
All it takes is one time riding without a helmet, or crossing an intersection without a driver looking that can result in serious injuries or death. Parvey & Cavenago encourage you to bike safely, be on alert and be a responsible role model for children learning about how to be safe. If you have recently been injured in a bike accident due to negligence or the fault of some one who was driving recklessly, contact Parvey & Cavenago to fight for you and your right to a peaceful recovery.