As children hop on their bicycles with all the excitement the summer brings, it becomes crucial to prioritize their safety. Whether riding around the neighborhood or on a trail while camping in the mountains, teaching children about bike safety is essential to protect them from potential accidents. We want to share some tips to help keep your children safe on their bike riding adventures this summer!
ALWAYS WEAR HELMETS!
The first and foremost rule of bike safety is wearing a properly fitted helmet. Bike helmets act as a first line of defense, significantly reducing the risk of head injuries in case of falls or collisions. By providing a cushioning effect and absorbing the impact, helmets can mitigate the severity of head trauma, including concussions, skull fractures, and other potentially life-altering injuries.
Emphasize the significance of protecting their heads and make it a non-negotiable rule. Ensure that the helmet meets safety standards and covers the forehead, leaving only two fingers’ width between the eyebrows and the helmet’s rim. Teach your child how to secure the straps snugly, ensuring a secure fit. Set a good example for your children by consistently wearing your own helmet when cycling.
RULES OF THE ROAD
Teaching children about road rules when riding a bike is vital for their safety. Explain basic traffic signs and signals, the importance of stopping at intersections, and looking both ways before crossing. Encourage them to use hand signals when turning and teach them to ride in the same direction as traffic, on the right side of the road.
INSPECT BIKES REGULARLY
Regularly inspecting and maintaining the bicycle ensures its optimal performance and reduces the risk of mechanical failures. Teach your child to check the brakes, tires, and chain before every ride. Explain the importance of properly inflated tires, functioning brakes, and a securely fastened chain.
DRESS FOR THE ACTIVITY
Wearing appropriate clothing while riding a bike enhances visibility and minimizes potential hazards. Encourage your child to wear bright-colored or reflective clothing to improve visibility, especially during low-light conditions. Closed-toe shoes and well-fitting clothes can help to prevent entanglement with the bike’s moving parts.
STAY AWARE AND ALERT
Teach your child to stay alert and aware of their surroundings while riding their bikes. Remind them to look out for pedestrians, vehicles, and other cyclists. Instruct them to avoid distractions such as using mobile devices or wearing headphones while riding. Encourage them to listen and watch for approaching vehicles or other potential hazards.
TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE!
Riding bikes with a friend adds an extra layer of safety. Encourage your child to ride with a friend or a family member whenever possible. They can look out for each other, navigate together, and provide assistance if needed.
Teach your children to anticipate potential dangers, such as opening car doors, sudden stops, cars backing out of garages or driveways, and erratic driving behavior from motorists. Encourage them to maintain a safe distance from parked cars and stay out of blind spots.
USE SIDEWALKS AND CROSSWALKS
Instruct your child on the proper use of sidewalks and crosswalks. Explain that pedestrians have the right of way, and cyclists should yield when crossing intersections or sharing the sidewalk with pedestrians. Remind them to walk their bicycles when using crosswalks.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Practice riding bikes with your children in various settings, including residential areas, bike paths, and busier streets, to improve their skills and confidence. Be vigilant during their rides, providing guidance and feedback as needed.
Bike safety is a crucial aspect of children’s lives and provides a great way to get exercise and enjoy time with friends. By teaching children to follow these safety tips, they will have the necessary tools to navigate their cycling adventures safely.
If you have any questions about bike safety or other activities, contact the Pediatric Center. We have been providing comprehensive care for infants, children, and teens in Idaho Falls and Rigby for over 55 years. We offer extended hours on nights and weekends as well as in-house labs and x-rays to help get your family back to the activities they love as soon as possible. Contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment.