7 surefire tips for children’s bike safety
For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic means more time at home. And while being cooped up at home has many disadvantages, the warmer weather and longer days of spring and summer mean more time for outdoor activities, as long as we practice safe social distancing. Riding a bike is a great way for you and your family to get exercise and have fun, but before you hop on your bikes, be sure to brush up on these safety tips.
1. Make sure your kid wears a properly fitted helmet.
- When wearing a helmet, your child should see the bottom rim of the helmet when gazing upward, and the rim should be one to two finger-widths above their eyebrows.
- After buckling your child’s helmet, make sure that the straps form a “V” under their ears.
- When your child opens their mouth, they should feel the helmet squeeze their head. Tighten the straps until snug if not.
2. Buy a bike that fits your child now, not later.
- Get a bike that is right for your child now, not one that they will grow into.
- When standing over the bike, they should be able to touch the ground with their feet.
- There should be one to two inches of clearance between your child and the bar on a road bike and five inches of clearance on a mountain bike.
- The handlebar height should be at the same level as the seat.
- Adjust their seat until their knee is slightly bent when the pedal is at its lowest position.
3. Maintain your child’s bike.
- Before your kid sets out on a ride, make sure that the tires are inflated, reflectors are secure and brakes are operational.
4. Teach your child traffic laws.
- Your child should ride with traffic on the right side of the road.
- Teach them what traffic signs and lights mean and how to obey them.
- Teach your kid how to signal turns with their hands: Fully extending their left arm indicates a left turn while fully extending their right arm or bending their left arm up in a right angle indicates a right turn.
- Tell them to always yield to pedestrians.
5. Make sure your child stands out.
- Dress your child in brightly colored clothes or a reflective vest.
- Install a white reflector on the front and a red reflector on the back of their bike if it doesn’t already come with them.
6. Teach your child how to stay alert.
- Teach your child to look out for obstacles ahead, such as fallen branches, wet leaves or potholes.
- Tell them to make eye contact with drivers so that they are aware of who is around them.
- Have them look over their shoulder before changing lanes.
- Your child should never wear headphones because they hamper their ability to hear traffic.
Most importantly, if you model good behavior on your bike, your child should follow suit. Practicing these safe habits yourself can reinforce the examples for your kids.