How Can I Help My Child Be Safe on a Bicycle?
Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage for many children. Before your child takes off, you need to equip them with the knowledge and tools to keep them safe. Here are three primary ways that you can help your child to be safe on a bicycle.
Make Helmets MandatoryA properly fitting bike helmet is literally a lifesaver. Helmets protect the head in the event of falls, absorbing the force of the impact and shielding the brain. This protection is especially important for young children with brains that are still developing. Wearing a helmet at all times while on a bike is a black and white issue. As a parent, you must show no room for negotiation on this rule. This means that you need to model safe behavior by also wearing a helmet. If you have a bad crash while wearing the helmet, you will need to replace the unit.
Use the Sidewalk When PossibleSidewalks are there to be used. Using a sidewalk instead of the road can drastically reduce the risks your child faces when on a bike. In 2017, 820 cyclists were involved in motor vehicle collisions in just one state alone. When using the sidewalks for cycling, be sure to make sure your children are mindful of other people walking. One of the tenets of safety for cyclists is to share the road with others. You will have greater peace of mind knowing that your child is using a sidewalk rather than the road.
Teach ControlOne of the best things that you can do to ensure that your child has a safe biking experience is to make sure that they understand how to control the bicycle. Do not ever buy a bike that is too big with the thought that your child will grow into it. This will make it more difficult for your child to control. Your child needs to know to always keep both hands on the handlebars. Any items should be carried in a backpack or in a basket attached to the bike. Make sure that your child knows to never wear headphones while riding a bike. Headphones will impede their awareness of their surroundings and potential dangers.
Riding a bike is a great way for a child to exert their independence, have fun, and get exercise. With the right instruction and care, you can make biking riding a positive learning experience.