Bike riding is a wonderful way to get around, exercise, have fun, and it’s also good for the environment. Families should enjoy their bikes as much as possible, but remember the importance of staying safe whether young or old.
In 2013 in the U.S., over 900 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 494,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries. Can you believe that less than half of children that are 14 years old or younger usually wear a bike helmet? However, if you have a properly fitted helmet you can reduce the risk of a head injury by almost 50 percent. Helmets are the most effective way to avoid an injury from a bicycle crash. Use your head, wear a helmet!
Talk bike safety with your children and don’t forget to also lead by example. Make sure you are practicing and modeling good bicycle safety for your children at all times. Not only for their benefit, but to help keep you safe as well. Here are some tips to help you and your family stay safe when riding your bicycles:
1) ALWAYS wear a helmet. It is always helpful to let your children pick out their own helmets at the store so they are more likely to want to wear them. Also, make sure it is properly fitted. It is the best way to prevent injury and death. You can visit the following website for help with making sure your helmet fits correctly. http://www.helmets.org/fit.htm
2) Wear bright colors and use lights. It helps make sure you are seen especially during the early morning hours and at night. Reflectors on clothes and on your bike can also help others see you and help keep you safe. Also make sure you aren’t wearing headphones when riding.
3) Ride on the sidewalk whenever you are able to, and if you can’t make sure you are riding in the same direction as traffic and as far on the right as possible.
4) Use hand signals and ride in a straight line. If your children don’t know hand signals make sure you teach them when and how to use them properly.
5) Ride along with your children as much as possible until you feel comfortable with their ability to stay safe on their own. Whenever they are able (like if they ride to and from school) encourage them to ride with a buddy.