Learning how to ride a bike can be a major milestone for your kids. It is also a fun and great form of exercise to keep them active. However, accidents can occur anytime, especially if they ride near cars or roads.
Each year, thousands of children go to the hospital due to bike injuries, some cases are even fatally serious. That’s why it is essential to ensure the following bike safety rules for kids before let your little ones take off.
1. Always wear a helmet
No matter if your kids ride in the backyard or on the road, you should always ask them to wear a good quality helmet. It is undoubtedly the most effective option to protect the brain, head, and face, as well as reduce head injuries from bicycle accidents.
Make sure to choose a high-quality helmet which is made from high-quality material and can endure extreme conditions. Also, teach your children how to wear the gear correctly so that it would sit in a level position without rocking side to side, backward, or forward. Do not forget to buckle the straps as well.
2. Learn hand signals
It is important for kids to learn some common hand signals on the road so that they can let other bicyclists and drivers know that they’re going to do.
- Left turn: Point the index finger to the left left or extend out the left arm with all extended fingers
- Right turn: Point the index finger to the right right or extend out the right arm with all extended fingers
- Slowing or stopping: Extend one arm sideways and bend it at a right angle at the elbow joint, the palm facing backwards and hand pointing downwards
Also, make sure to tell your children how a car indicates with backup lights, brake lights, or blinkers.
3. Be seen
When riding on the road, it is always advisable to wear bright clothes and accessories that are made of reflective materials so that other people can see your kids from a distance. This is especially helpful at dawn, dusk, or in the evening when the visibility is limited. Also, it’s a good idea to put reflectors on the bike to bring similar effects.
4. Follow good behaviours
Kids are good at learning from watching their parents, so it is important to model proper behaviours.
For example, tell your children to ride on the right side of the road and along with the traffic; stay as far from other vehicles as possible; respect the traffic signals; make eye contact with other drivers.
Also, before crossing an intersection or enter a road, they should stop the bike and look right and left to ensure there are nothing approaching.
Here is a short clip to help your kids learn how to ride a bike properly and safely on the road:
5. Ride in the right place
Before your kids take their bike and start on the road, make sure to know where they are heading to. It is advisable to tell them how far they are allowed to go and whether they should move in the street or on the sidewalk. Those children who are younger than ten years old should avoid the streets, especially areas with many trucks and cars.
In most cases, a bike path or spacious public park is an ideal option if there is one in your neighbourhood. Just tell your kids to share the path with other strollers, walkers, and riders who might also use it. Make sure the area is free of obstacles, big hills, and other factors that might cause falls such as wet leaves, storm grates, big puddles, rocks or gravel, and curbs.
6. Stay alert and focused at all times
During a ride, kids should be always alert and use their ears and eyes to watch out for any hazards on the road, such as cracks, potholes, storm grates, wet leaves, pets, and especially other vehicles. These obstacles can make them lose control easily and lead to a serious crash.
Never allow your children to wear headphones when they are riding because music can distract them from the noises surrounding. In many cases, hearing a truck blowing is important to avoid a serious accident.