Bike crashes are second only to automobiles when it comes to childhood emergency room visits.
Every day, about 1,000 kids end up in hospital emergency rooms with injuries from bikes – especially kids ages 5 to 14 who get hurt more often than bikers of any other age.
About one kid every day dies of these injuries. Others suffer lifetime problems, such as brain damage or difficulty using their legs.
Helmets are the most important safety item for bicycle riders. Helmets are a necessity - not an accessory!
In fact, wearing a helmet can reduce head injuries up to 85 percent.
Parents should follow these simple safety tips before sending their kids out for a bike ride.
The perfect helmet
- Choose a helmet that meets safety standards.
- Make sure the helmet fits your child and they are wearing it correctly every time they are on their bike -- even riding in the driveway or down the block.
- Be an example, adults need to wear helmets too.
- Find out how to fit a bike helmet.
The perfect bike
- Make sure the bicycle fits your child. If it is too large, it will be difficult for them to control.
- When sitting on the bike, your child should be able to just about fully extend their legs to reach the pedals when they are in the lowest position.
- When standing astride the bar with their feet flat on either side, there should be about 1 to 2 inches of space between their crotch and the crossbar for a road bike and 3 to 4 inches for a mountain bike.
- For kids that are still growing, make sure that their bike's seat post and handlebars can be raised a bit to adjust to their new height.
The perfect bike rider
- Teach your children to Stop and Look Left-Right-Left before crossing the street, when leaving your driveway or an alley. Some people in cars just don't see cyclists.
- Always ride on the right side of the street in the same direction as the traffic. Never ride against traffic.
- If cycling with friends, have everyone ride single file
- Kids 10 and younger should ride on the sidewalks whenever possible.
- Never let your child ride at night or with head phones.
- Let your child know the safe places they can ride: parks, bike trails and sidewalks.
- Never let your child give someone a ride on their bike, like on the handlebars or standing on the back wheel.
Remember riding bikes can be a fun way for kids and yourself to get exercise when done safely.