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Jun 25

Summer Fun – Bike Safety

Summer Fun – Bike Safety


Summer means getting outside! Riding a bike is a great way to get a breath of fresh air while exercising and having fun. Biking is also an enjoyable family sport.

However, if not properly prepared for, biking can become dangerous, especially for children. Safe Kids Worldwide reveals that more children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport.

To make sure your family stays safe this summer, remember these bike safety guidelines.

Wear a Helmet

Safe Kids Worldwide recommends that children use helmets because studies have shown that they can reduce severe brain injury by up to 88 percent. To ensure that your child has the right helmet, select a size that snugly fits their head. The rim of the helmet should be one or two fingerwidths above their eyebrows. The straps should always be secure, and form a “V” shape beneath the ears. Keep it loose enough that your child can still open their mouth wide, but tight enough that it doesn’t slide back and forth over their head.

Play it Safe

If you have a small child that is learning, stay with them at all times. Use knee pads, elbow pads, and bike gloves to reduce the risk of injury should they take a fall. Training wheels work until your child has established proper balance and confidence.

Reflectors and bike lights are a good investment for all members of the family. Though riding at night is not recommended, reflectors and lights can increase visibility and awareness even during the day.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Tempting as it might be to purchase a bike for your child to “grow into,” over-sized bikes are actually very dangerous for children (and even adults). Risk of injury increases when your child is unable to reach pedals or break pads. Too large or heavy bikes are difficult to maneuver. Keep yourself or your child safe by purchasing the right bike. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following when selecting a bike:

  • Sitting on the seat with hands on the handlebar, your child must be able to place the balls of both feet on the ground.
  • Straddling the center bar, your child should be able to stand with both feet flat on the ground with about a 1-inch clearance between the crotch and the bar.
  • When buying a bike with hand brakes for an older child, make sure that the child can comfortably grasp the brakes and apply sufficient pressure to stop the bike.

Street Safety

When biking with your family, be sure to consider the experience levels of those with you. For beginners, start in a park where there’s no danger of cross traffic. Avoid biking on busy streets. When this is unavoidable, young or beginning riders should bike with the flow of traffic. Obey all traffic laws, such as stop signs and lights, and be sure that when crossing the street, bikers dismount and walk the bike across the road. Before crossing, let all vehicles come to a complete stop to ensure that you are visible.

After you and your family are properly equipped and know all the safety guidelines, go out and have fun.

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