- Dr. Liz Homan
Bicycle Safety- Summer Safety Series
Well, we officially have a bike rider in the house! Anna received a bike for your birthday in February and we have been working on her bike riding skills and she is doing really well. Yes, she still has training wheels on but she is finally picking up the speed and doing great!
This all made me think that it would be good to share some bike safety items with you as I know a lot of you enjoy bike rides together as a family as well.
So, I think the most important thing is to wear a helmet when riding a bike, or honestly, anything with wheels! It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes! You want to make sure that the helmet fits properly and that your child knows how to wear it correctly. Here are a few tips in regards to that:
A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position and should not rock in any direction.
Eyes Check- when the child has the help on correctly, they should see the bottom rim of the helmet when they look up. The rim should be one to two finger widths above the eyebrows.
Ears Check- the strap of the helmet should form a “v” under the ears when buckled and the strap should be snug but comfortable.
Mouth Check- have the child open their mouth as wide as they can. The helmet should hug their head when they do this, and if it does not then the straps need to be tightened.
Another important part of making bike riding safe is to ensure that your child’s bike is the correct size for them. This is best accomplished by bringing them with your while buying the bike. The main thing to look at here are that when the child is sitting on the bicycle seat, their feet should be ale to touch the ground.
You also want to double check the bike before each ride to make sure the reflectors are secure, the brakes work properly, the tires are inflated and tightly secured and that if the bike has gears that they shift smoothly.
Before you allow your child to ride on their own, you should fully explain the rules of the road. It has been found that until the age of around 10 kids can have a hard time judging the speed and distance of cars so they really should only ride on sidewalks and bike paths. It is important to teach your child to be very aware of cars and trucks as they are riding and to stay alert.
No matter the age of the rider, it is important to wear bright and reflective clothing to make it easier for others to see you. Also, if riding is being done at dusk, dawn or in the evening, please make sure that the bike has reflectors and possibly a headlight. This will make it easier for motorist to see the bicycle.
I wish you all a very safe and fun summer of riding your bike around town! I am sure we will be taking several bike rides to get ice cream or play at a park this summer and I hope you and your family can get out and enjoy the weather on your bikes as well!