Riding a bike is something every child should learn to do during their formative years. While it’s not an essential life skill, it is a neat one to have, and it’s certainly beneficial to one’s overall physical health. It’s also a great opportunity for bonding and a perfectly productive way of spending time with your child.
With all that being said, though, riding a bike can still be a dangerous activity if certain safety measures aren’t taken. There are bound to be a few scrapes and bruises, but your child should never return with anything you can’t treat with some tried-and-true home remedies. It’s important that your kids are educated on how to be safe while riding their bikes - no one wants any unpleasant trips to the emergency room.
This is the purpose of this article - to provide you with several important bike safety tips for you to impart to your children. After this, your kids will still be able to have fun and enjoy themselves while riding their bikes, and you will have the peace of mind of knowing that they are all fully-equipped with some potentially life-saving knowledge. Without any further ado, let’s take a look at the most important bike safety tips for kids that you should know.
The Importance Of Helmets
First things first, no matter how well your kid can ride - training wheels or not - make sure that they always wear a helmet. We can’t stress this enough. Helmets are probably the most important piece of bicycle equipment because they are able to protect riders’ faces, noggins, and brains - assuming they fit properly, of course.
Luckily for those eager young bike riders living in North America, the US government recognizes the importance of bicycle helmets. Every bike helmet must be adorned with a CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) sticker. These stickers indicate whether or not a helmet is safe to wear on the road. If your child’s helmet doesn’t have one of these neat little stickers, it’s time to invest in one that does.
There are a few other helmet-related considerations to keep in mind, including:
- Making sure that the helmet fits well (not too tight, but certainly not loose at all)
- Making sure that the helmet is worn correctly (it should cover the forehead, and the straps should be fastened properly)
- Making sure not to wear a hat or any other form of headwear underneath the helmet
- Taking care not to let the helmet be damaged and mistreated
- Adorning the helmet with reflective stickers so as not to go unnoticed while on the road with other bike riders and motorized vehicle owners
Lastly, if your child does fall on his or her head while riding, be sure to replace the helmet as soon as possible.
The Right-Sized Bike
This should go without saying, but your child ought to have a bike that is suitable for their size. You can quickly lose control of a bicycle that’s a few sizes too big, and you can easily overwork and damage one that’s too small. Luckily, we’ve got a few things to look out for when determining what size bike your child should ride.
To find the right size:
- Have your child straddle the top-most bar of the bicycle while standing upright. If it’s the right size, they should be able to have both of their feet planted firmly on the ground.
- Additionally, there should be 1 to 3 inches of space between your child and the top-most bar.
Furthermore, you should help your child maintain their bike regularly.
- Make sure the seat, handlebars, and wheels are tightened securely.
- Oil the chain on a regular basis.
- Be sure to check the brakes before your child goes for a ride. Make sure that they aren’t sticking.
- Finally, be sure to also check the tires, making sure that they are adequately pumped.
Your child should be fully equipped with enough road knowledge to keep them safe at all times. While they probably don’t need to know what a yield is yet, they should know some basic rules of commuting to avoid any scary trips to the emergency room.
Here are some things your child should know:
- Keep your hands on the handlebars at all times.
- When crossing the street from your driveway or an alley, be sure to check in both directions for oncoming traffic before pressing on. This rule applies to afternoon strolls, as well.
- When faced with a busy intersection, it is a better idea to walk with your bike when crossing over, following traffic signals and waiting for cars to pass you by before continuing.
- Whenever you can, use the bike lanes - they’re there for a reason.
- Never ride against traffic.
- Ride in single-file when with friends.
- Obey stop signs and red lights.
- Don’t ride too close to the sides of cars - a car door can open at any time.
Other Safety Tips
These final safety considerations don’t fall under any of the previous sub-headings, but they’re important all the same.
- Always signal your turns.
- Don’t ride too far away from home.
- Wear something bright and reflective whenever you ride your bike. This lets drivers know of your presence on the road.
With these safety considerations in mind, you can be sure that your child will be as safe as can be while riding their bike. As we’ve said before, a few minor injuries such as scratches and bruises are to be expected when your little one is learning how to ride their bike, but it should never have to be anything more than that when following the above tips.
Remember, when it comes to your child riding their bike, their safety and well-being are always the priority. If your child is scared or isn't feeling confident in riding their bike without training wheels or on certain terrain, do not force them. This could lead to injuries. We hope that this article has proven informative. Thank you for reading and ride safely!