Bike Safety Tips
As with pedestrian safety, make sure your child knows and exercises proper bike safety. Here are a few safety rules that you should review with your child, especially if she will be riding her bike on the street.
Always Wear a Helmet
The importance of wearing a bicycle helmet cannot be stressed enough. Head injury is the main cause for bike related deaths. Yet, wearing a helmet can reduce your risk significantly. If you have a bike, set a good example for your child by looking after yourself and wearing a helmet.
When you buy a helmet, either for yourself or your child, you’ll need to find one that fits properly. There are three simple tricks to know whether or not a helmet fits properly. First, your child should be able to look up and see the bottom rim of the helmet. When the strap is done up, it should form a "V" shape under your child’s ears. Also, with the strap done up, have your child stretch her mouth as wide open as possible. If your child says the helmet feels like it’s hugging her head, then you know it’s a good fit.
Their bike as well as their clothing should always be equipped with reflectors. A late afternoon bike ride can quickly become a ride at dusk. Reflectors can help protect your child from motorists who have reduced visibility as the sun goes down.
Obey All Traffic Signs
When your child is old enough to ride on the street, make sure he understands the responsibility that comes with riding with other vehicles. Teach your child that a bicycle is a vehicle just like a car. Bicyclists need to obey all traffic signs and signals all the time. Your child needs to demonstrate that he knows to stop at an intersection and watch for traffic before proceeding if he wants to ride without adult supervision. Unlike pedestrians, cyclists should always travel with the traffic and stay as far to the right as possible. Also, make sure your child knows and uses proper bicycle signals.
When your child comes to an intersection, she needs to signal to the other motorists what she plans to do.
If she is turning right, then her arm should be raised at a 90° angle from the shoulder with her fingertips pointing up.
If she is turning left, your child should stick her arm straight out so that it is parallel to the ground.
And if she is stopping, then her arm should be at a 90° angle from the shoulder with the fingertips pointing down towards the ground.
Review With Your Child
It may be a good idea to go biking with your child and then discuss safety on the road. Watch him to evaluate if he is using caution when stopping, turning and riding alongside traffic. Then, give him suggestions to help him improve his safety awareness.
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