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Bike Safety for Big Kids
If they haven't already, your children are just about to lose those training wheels. Here are a few tips to keep them safe as they soak up the adventure.
Top Safety Tips
- We have a simple saying: "Use your head, wear a helmet." It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes.
- Make sure your child has the right size helmet and wears it every time when riding, skating or scooting. Here are instructions on how to properly fit your child's helmet.
- You'd be surprised how much kids learn from watching you, so it's extra important for parents to model proper behavior. Wear a helmet, even if you didn't when you were a kid.
- Your children's helmet should meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's standards. When it's time to purchase a new helmet, let your children pick out their own; they'll be more likely to wear it for every ride.
- Ensure proper bike fit by bringing the child along when shopping for a bike. Select one that is the right size for the child, not one he or she will grow into.
- Actively supervise children until you're comfortable that they are responsible to ride on their own.
- Every child is different, but developmentally, it can be hard for kids to judge speed and distance of cars until age 10, so limit riding to sidewalks (although be careful for vehicles in driveways), parks or bike paths until age 10. No matter where you ride, teach your child to stay alert and watch for cars and trucks.
- Long or loose clothing can get caught in bike chains or wheel spokes. Dress young kids appropriately to ensure a safe ride.
- Before the ride, make sure the reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly, and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.
- Teach your kids to make eye contact with drivers. Bikers should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.
- Tell your kids to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
- When riding at dusk, at dawn or in the evening, be bright and use lights – and make sure your bike has reflectors as well. It's also smart to wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve biker visibility to motorists.