Keeping Your Kids Safe on Their New Bike
Bike riding can be a lot of fun, and it’s also great exercise. It gives your child a feeling of independence and increases their confidence.
However, it’s all too easy to think of a bicycle as a toy, when in fact, it’s far from being a toy and, if not ridden carefully, can be very dangerous.
If you want to keep your child safe when they’re riding their bike, here are some things you can do.
Make Sure The Bike is the Right Size for Your Child
If your child’s bike is the right size, it’ll be much safer. Ideally, they should be able to put both feet flat on the ground when straddling the top bar of the bike. There should also be between 1 and 3 inches of space between them and the top bar.
Encourage them to work through a safety checklist before going out for a ride. Checks include:
1. Making sure the handlebars, seat, and wheels fit snugly,
2. Checking that the brakes work and aren’t sticking,
3. Making sure the tyres are correctly inflated,
4. Checking the chain is lubricated.
A safety helmet is an essential part of your child’s safety gear. It will help protect their face, head, and brain if they fall off their bike. The helmet should fit them well and must be worn the correct way if you want it to provide maximum protection.
It should cover their forehead and not tip back. The straps should always be fastened.
They shouldn’t wear a hat underneath the helmet. Discourage them from throwing it around because if it gets damaged, it will provide no protection.
Should they fall off and hit their head, buy them a new helmet. Add reflective stickers to the helmet so that other road users can be them better.
Make Them Wear The Correct Clothing
Bright clothing is essential. You can also increase their visibility by adding reflectors to their bike so that other road users can see them better. Ensure nothing can get caught in the bike chain, and they should wear the correct footwear.
Trainers are much safer than flip-flops, sandals, or heeled shoes. Encourage them to leave their headphones at home because music can be a distraction.
Show Them Where It’s Safe to Ride
Daytime bicycle riding is always safest. If your child is younger than ten years, they should avoid riding on the road.
Teach Them Basic Rules of the Road
Road rules they need to learn include:
1. Ride with hands on handlebars at all times
2. Stop and look for traffic coming from both directions
3. Only cross at intersections
4. Walk rather than ride at busy intersections
5. Always follow traffic signals
6. Always ride on the right-hand side, and travel in the same direction as the traffic
7. Use a bike lane if possible
8. At stop signs and red lights, always stop
9. When riding with friends, use single file
10. Teach them hand signals
Follow these tips, and your child will be much safer when riding their bicycle.