Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bike Safety

The fist post in the Safety First series of posts is about Bike Safety.

Bike riding is one of the rights of passage for any child. The step of going from a tricycle, to a bike with training wheels, to a bike without training wheels is a mile stone for any child.

My kids have progressed to “Two-wheelers” at different ages, but we have always had the same rules.

-Helmets must be worn at all times
-No bike riding on the street, use the sidewalk
-All riding destinations must be approved
-Bright colors must be worn with a bell attached to your bike.

These are the simple rules that they know and are pretty good at obeying. We live on a busy street, so there is sidewalk right out or door, but the mostly ride in our driveway, because we are on a busy street.

The proper fitting helmet is key for bike riding (and skateboarding/rollerblading). I have included this link on the correct way to fit a helmet. This can save a child's (or adults) life.

We also have the rules that apply only at certain times, and with different circumstances.

-Glasses should be worn to prevent bugs and dust from flying in your face.
-If going on rocky terrain, wear bike gloves, this can help prevent blisters.

I spent a little time at our local bike shop, and got a couple other great tips for child bike safety.

-All bikes come with reflectors, add about three more. The ones that the bike comes with are the minimum standard.
-Add a light to the front of your child bike if you do night rides. This can allow even more visibility, and allow the child to see well.
-Make sure to check your child equipment. Checking the brakes and the proper tire inflation is important, just as with a car.

There are also other things that can increase the safety of your bike ride.

-Always ride with the flow of traffic. Growing up, this was always something I was confused about. You want to go the same direction as the traffic, to make you the most visible.
-Obey all traffic laws. If there is a stop sign, you stop. If there are lane markings or yield signs, you follow them. This is something I have worked with my kids on. A bike is a vehicle, and you must respect the rules like any other driver.
-Before turning or crossing a street corner, check left and right to make sure no cars are coming. Always enter at the street corner, not between parked cars. This can make you more visible.

Always remember that a bike can be great learning tool, to prepare a child for when they are driving. Respect it as such.

What other bike tips do you have?

Penn Cycle
Erik the Bike Man!


Well Behaved Krissy said...

I've had students give speeches on bike safety and this was pretty close to all the info. Good work :) Come visit me soon.

We are THAT Family said...

Great tips. My son got a new bike yesterday and I need to go over these with him since he's thinks being 6 makes him invincible!