As children get older, they earn more independence. They also earn the responsibilities that come with it. If your child has reached the age where he or she can bike to school, sports, or friends’ houses alone, now is a great time to help the whole family brush up on bicycle safety basics.
Here are some tips for safer bicycling this fall, courtesy of the National Safety Council:
- Always wear a helmet. Helmets can prevent some brain injuries and help make others less severe. Make the helmet a requirement of riding the bicycle for every member of the family. Make sure children’s helmets fit – allowing children to choose their own helmets, with guidance, is a great way to encourage kids to find one they like and will wear. Reflective tape on jackets and backpacks can make riders easier to see as well.
- Follow the rules of the road. Remind children that bicyclists use the roads and they follow all the same rules as cars – and teach them what those rules are. They include riding on the right, stopping at all stop signs and stop lights, and signaling before making a turn. Caution children not to ride on the sidewalk. It may look safer, but bicyclists are more likely to be injured on sidewalks than in the road – especially when going through a crosswalk, where cars aren’t looking for bicycles.
- Ride so that even if a car doesn’t see you, you won’t get hit. Pay very close attention to cars at intersections and in other places. Don’t let headphones or other items distract you.