Bike Safety for Kids

Bike riding is a fun activity, and bike safety for kids needs to be addressed before any two-wheel pleasure cruise rides out of the garage. By introducing a few bike safety rules, parents can help protect their children from serious injury. 

As your child ages, different cycling safety rules should be presented. The most important lesson is building an enjoyment of cycling for your child. Cycling promotes a healthy lifestyle and offers a less expensive means of transportation.

Bike safety begins by selecting the correct bike for your child's size. A good way to determine if the bike fits is to straddle the top bar of the bicycle. Make sure your child's feet are planted on the ground. There should be one to three inches between the bike and your child.

Teach children what to look for in a pre-ride check. Always check and adjust the seat, handlebars, wheels and brakes. The air pressure in both tires needs to be tested. These are simple tasks that children can learn quickly and incorporate into the pre-ride routine.

Once the condition of the bike is checked, your child will be ready to ride. Before taking off, make sure that your child wears a bike helmet. All helmets meet U.S. safety standards; quality helmets contain a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sticker. The helmet should fit properly and children should not wear a hat under the helmet. If your child crashes hard, have the helmet checked by a reputable bicycle shop. Often, helmets must be replaced after an accident.

Clothing and outerwear will help keep young cyclists safe. Children should wear bright clothing when riding.  Sturdy shoes need to be worn. Sandals and flip flops should be avoided. Never ride barefoot. Keeping loose objects, including pant legs or shoelaces, away from the bicycle chain is essential to prevent injuries. Reflective strips should be placed on the bike. Some parents choose to place a strip of the reflective tape on the child's clothing so that the biker can be easily seen.

Kids should discuss biking routes with parents prior to leaving home. Younger children should peddle on the sidewalks instead of along a heavily traveled street. Before sending your child out on the sidewalk, make sure that sidewalk bicycle riding is legal in your town. As your child ages, you may discuss a biking route on the roadway. Stay alert for possible road obstacles, including branches, puddles, gravel or rocks, curbs, other people and changes in the road surface.

A bicycle is a legal vehicle. Cyclists are expected to follow all traffic laws, including stopping and looking for traffic when leaving a driveway or curb or when crossing a street. Teach your child to walk the bike across intersections and follow traffic signals. Travel in the same direction as cars do. Stop at stop signs or traffic lights. And ride single file if cycling with friends to prevent possible accidents.

Sharing these safety tips and addressing safety and cycling issues as your child ages will encourage children to be safe cyclists.

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