Bicycle riding is probably the favorite activity of every kid at some point in their lives. Indeed, it is fun and enjoyable. Parents love their kids using bikes as well since it helps rid them of most of their energy. A bike ride is so vital for the health of a child as it keeps them active and physically healthy.
But a bike is also something containing risks. It is not like playing with a toy car in the comfort of a kid’s bedroom; sometimes bikes might not be safe for children, and they can cause bike injuries of various degrees. Kids might lose control and crash. And when they fail to ride a bicycle while sticking to safety rules and guidelines, accidents happen.
That is why bicycle safety for kids is as important as teaching your child how to behave. Parents should never ignore bike safety for kids and explain to their children the risks associated with this activity.
So, let’s unveil some of the bicycle safety myths and take a closer look at bike safety facts for kids.
1. Always wear a bike helmet
You probably aren’t surprised that this is number one. Did you know that using a helmet correctly can reduce the risk of head injury by 45%? Have your child wear a helmet every time they go on a ride, even on short ones around the neighborhood. Wearing a helmet is the best measure regarding bike safety for kids.
You might be surprised, but plenty of accidents happen when kids take brief rides near their homes. They should wear properly fitted helmets to protect their heads from any possible injuries. Make your child wear a helmet every time they ride, and soon, they will develop a bicycle helmet habit. Your child must start wearing headgear to protect right from their first tricycle rides.
2. Choose equipment wisely and repair it right away
When shopping for a bike for your kid, make sure to select the size that fits them. Do not opt for an oversized one for them to grow into it; oversized bikes do not provide the necessary conditions for your child to stay safe. Your kid might not have the skills required for handling a bigger bike so that it could hinder them from safe bike riding.
Your kid should be able to sit on the seat and have their feet touch the ground. Also, it is recommended to buy your first child’s bike with only one speed (to get them accustomed to the experience). Shifting and various gears might be quite confusing for a young one. Once your kid’s bicycle is in your property, inspect it often and check the tire pressure and brakes regularly.
3. Make your kid visible
One of the most important tips in terms of bicycle safety for kids is to make sure your child is visible for other road users. It is smart to wear bright clothes with reflective materials, especially when they (and hopefully you with them) are riding at dusk. White is noticeable, so you can surely use this color. Also, some states might require a front light, while the use of a rear reflector is almost always mandatory.
4. Never let your kid ride at night
While you might argue that the use of reflectors and headlights make you visible when you ride your bike at night, it might not work that well with children. Night riding requires special skills and is not safe for kids.
5. Keep a close watch
When it comes to bicycle safety for kids, you can’t be too careful. If you’re not sure your kid is mature enough for riding on their own, they likely aren’t. Of course, every kid is different, and you, as a parent, can make your own judgments. Besides, there is a general assumption that children under ten years old can’t estimate the distance and speed of traffic. So, keep an eye on your young cyclist before they start showing enough competence while riding and learn all the rules.
6. Teach proper bike safety for kids
Bicycle safety for kids is your priority as soon as they get a bike, so start teaching your kid as soon as they’ve received their two-wheeled vehicle. Ask your kid to check:
- How far you’re allowed to ride;
- How long you can ride;
- What to do if something breaks down;
- What measures to take in case of injuries;
- Whether or not you should ride on the sidewalk or the street.
Note that kids under ten years old are allowed to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk to avoid riding on the street. However, teach them to only ride along the road only after checking what type of hazards are around. Even if they are not riding on the street yet, they will need to eventually.
Kids should know to always ride on the right side of the street along with traffic. You should also explain the necessity to respect traffic signals and use hand signals. This is an essential means of communication between cyclists and motor vehicles that can prevent accidents. For example, to warn about an upcoming left turn, extend your left arm out straight to the side. If you are going to the right, bend your left arm up or extend your right arm. If there are stop signs and you need to stop, bend your left arm at the elbow down.
Before crossing the road, children should stop, look left, look right, and look left again. Make sure to tell your kid how important it is to keep an eye on parked cars and vehicles coming from driveways.
A final word
Basic safety tips are an important part of the riding experience. Bike safety for kids is crucial, so teach your children to be responsible cyclists form a very young age. Only then can you rest assured that your child will be able to ride safely.