Basic Bike Safety
Of all the wonderful outdoor activities to choose from, a favorite with many families is biking. Whether you bike with your children as a family activity or if you allow your older ones to enjoy the freedom of taking off with their bike alone, it’s important to always be mindful of bike safety. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your family’s safety this biking season.
Check the Size.
You may not realize how fast your kids are growing, so it’s important each season to check if your child’s bike is the correct size. To check the size, have your child stand over the top bar of the bike with feet flat on the ground. There should be 1 to 2 inches between them and the top bar if they have a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if they have a mountain bicycle. From the bicycle seat, your child should easily be able to keep one foot securely on the ground.
No matter what time of day you’re riding, it’s recommended that you wear bright neon or fluorescent colors. Despite a common misconception, wearing white does not make bikers more visible. To increase your visibility even more, add some reflective tape or markings to your bike or clothing. If riding at night is necessary, have a light on the front and back of your bicycle. The front light should be white and the back one red.
It’s important to be seen while riding bikes, but it is just as important to be constantly alert, seeing and reacting to one’s surroundings. Remind your children to be attentive to stationary vehicles as well as moving ones—you don’t want to run into someone getting out of a car or get injured by a side door being opened.
Choose Your Route Wisely.
According to the Department of Transportation, the safest place for bikes to ride is actually on the street where bicycles are required to follow the rules of the road. However, young bikers under the age of 10 are advised to stay on sidewalks if the laws in your state allow it.
When riding on the road, always ride with the flow of traffic and be vigilant to follow all street signs and traffic lights.
And finally: this one should go without saying, but no matter how much your child protests, encourage them to always wear a helmet!
According to Helmets.org, wearing a helmet can decrease a bicyclist’s risk of head, brain and severe brain injury by 66-88%. A life is not worth the risk. Wear a helmet.