Bike Safety Tips for Kids & Parents
Bicycling is a healthy activity for the whole family, especially young children. Southern California’s mild weather and abundant trails offer endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors on two wheels. While a fun way to travel or just explore your neighborhood, biking does come with risks. An estimated 10 percent of all bicycle accidents involve children between the ages of 6 and 10. By teaching younger kids safety guidelines early on, you can help prepare them for years to come. When young riders are armed with the proper skills and knowledge of bike safety, parents can reduce the likelihood of injuries and accidents.
The reality is that many bicycle accidents involving children happen because of rider behavior and lack of skills. It’s never too early to begin teaching your child about the rules of the road and the importance of bicycle safety and helmet use.
Before your little ones start pedaling outdoors, be sure to review these important bike safety tips.
Bike safety tips
It’s a great idea to talk with your kids about the safest places to go bike riding, whether a community park, an empty cul-de-sac, or neighborhood bicycle trails.
- Make sure the bicycle is appropriately sized – the handlebars and seat should be at the same height, and the seat should allow a little bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended.
- Beginners will benefit from training wheels, while older kids can learn to use hands brakes or coaster brakes
- Choose a quality bike helmet that will protect against head trauma/brain injury
- A properly-fitting helmet should rest level and not tip forward or to the sides
- Make sure the tires are inflated, the brakes work properly and the reflectors are firmly secured
- Wear reflective or bright colors to improve visibility
- Wear closed-toe shoes and avoid loose fitting pants that can get caught in the spokes
- If riding with a group of people, bike in a single file, rather than side by side
- Teach kids to use appropriate hand signals to indicate a left or right hand turn
Teaching your child the rules of the road
Before the age of 8, few kids can judge vehicle speed or have a basic understanding of how traffic works, making them vulnerable targets when riding a bicycle. By taking your child for several “training” rides, you can explain some essential rules such as:
- Always wear a helmet when biking
- Look right and left before turning
- Obey all stop signs
- Be careful around parked cars and driveways where vehicles may back out
- Ride on the right, going in the same direction as traffic
- Walk your bicycle across busy streets
- No playing in the road
- Use bike lanes instead of sidewalks whenever possible
- Always yield to traffic signs
- Be alert for road hazards like potholes, puddles or broken glass
- Always ride with both hands on the handlebars unless signaling a turn
- Be home before dark – avoid riding at night
Children tend to emulate their elders, giving more reason to model safe behavior (including constant helmet use!) while biking. By teaching your kids bicycle safety and road rules, you not only help prevent crashes, but you’re encouraging an active and healthier life.
California bicycle accident lawyers
The Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers at Ellis Injury Law are dedicated to winning justice for cycling victims and their families. If you or a loved one was harmed in a bike accident, call 310-641-3335 for a free case review. Our legal team represents clients throughout Los Angeles and offers 20 convenient office locations throughout California.
Additional Bike Safety Tips:
- Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation, CHILD BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY TIPS https://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/download/bikeped_safety_tips.pdf
- Safe Kids Worldwide, Bike Safety Tips https://www.safekids.org/tip/bike-safety-tips
- NHTSA, Kids and Bicycle Safety https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/bike/KidsandBikeSafetyWeb/index.htm
- KidsHealth.org, Bike Safety http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/bike-safety.html