TEACHING YOUR KIDS TO RIDE A BIKE
*8 ESSENTIAL SAFETY TIPS*
The skill of riding a bicycle is one most of us learn as a child as we look to head outside with our family and friends to have some fun. Bicycle safety is one of the most difficult aspects of bringing up children because this is often the first moment of freedom a child receives from the loving arms of a parent or guardian. The question we face is how best to keep a child safe whenever they are heading out on their bike for a short ride or a longer journey. As we look at the statistics we may feel bicycle riders are more skilled than in the middle of the 20th-century. However, the fall of 92 percent in fatalities is generally accepted as being caused by only 13 percent of school-aged children riding or walking to school regularly.
1 – Always Wear a Helmet
Let’s start with the basics of cycling safety. It does not matter if your child is taking a trip to the end of the street or embarking on a long trip with your family and friends, a helmet is always a required piece of equipment. Some statistics show just 68 percent of children wear a bicycle helmet regularly despite the obvious safety implications of the use of these important pieces of equipment.
Alongside the use of a helmet, you should always make sure the chosen option fits the head of your child correctly. The fit should be snug but not too tight to make sure it will remain on the head in the right position if an accident does take place. Helmets reports the use of a helmet can cut down on the risk of a head injury by around 50 percent.
2 – Never Substitute a Sports Helmet
Many different types of helmets are available for every cyclist to choose from made specifically for cycling. One of the biggest mistakes that can be made is for an adult to encourage a child to wear a football or hockey helmet when riding. These will not offer the protection of a specialist cycling helmet and could cause more damage than they help with. Children should be made aware that cycling helmets are designed specifically for the sport and provide the perfect protection for a cyclist.
3 – Check Tires and Brakes
Cycling safety is a major concern for most parents and guardians who are looking for a better way of allowing their children to exercise. It is important to choose the correct type of bicycle with the use of pedal brakes a good option for younger riders who do not have the coordination to use handlebar brakes. Before setting out on any ride you should check the tires and brakes of your child’s bike to make sure they are in food working order to avoid any accidents.
4 – Always be Seen
Alongside wearing a helmet, one of the most important parts of staying safe when riding a bicycle is to take the correct steps to wear the right clothing to stay safe on the road. Cycling Weekly explains the use of a high-visibility vest is a good option for all riders regardless of age because being seen can mean the difference between an accident or staying safe. The decision to wear high-visibility clothing should be a simple one because a Danish study showed a 47 percent lower chance of an incident taking place when worn.
5 – Never Ride into Traffic
This is one of the most important myths to debunk about staying safe when riding as a child or an adult. Many people think they can have more chances of staying safe on the road if they are riding into the oncoming traffic, however, one-quarter of all head-on collisions are caused by riders on the left instead of the right.
6 – Hand Signals Should be used
Many adults feel the use of hand signals is a dangerous aspect of riding a bicycle for children because they will often face the prospect of losing control of their bicycle. This is another aspect of bicycle riding it is important to learn at an early age to make sure every rider stays safe when riding on the road with traffic. By choosing to teach a child the important safety tips of hand signals they can enjoy a long career riding safely with drivers and other cyclists aware of their planned movements on the road.
7 – Follow Traffic Signals
The traffic signals that are all around us can often be difficult for a cyclist to understand but a child taught to follow the rules of the road will have fewer risks of accidents than those who do not know these important signals. Making sure to stop at each stop sign and red traffic signal can minimize the risk of a child becoming hurt if they are traveling in traffic.
8 – Avoid Night Rides
Riding a bicycle at night is never a good idea for a child no matter what kind of clothing they are wearing. Many adults make the mistake of believing reflectors and high-visibility clothing will help a child to stay safe on the road by making them easy to identify for drivers. Riding at night is discouraged for all because of the potential dangers faced by cyclists.
Learning to ride a bike is something all children should experience! But when teaching your kids to ride a bike, it is essential you also teach them the safety aspects of cycling. This is to not only protect them, but also those that will share the road or trails with them.