Being free from school for the summer often draws children outside to play and be active. One of the most popular outdoor activities is bike riding. More than 70% of all children between the ages of 5 and 15 years old are said to ride bicycles. Biking is a great form of fun and exercise for all ages; however, the importance of stressing bike safety has never been more important, since bicycle fatalities have risen rather than declined for the first time since 1970. And unfortunately, Louisiana has the second most bicycle deaths per capita in the United States.
The best way to stay safe as a cyclist is to take all necessary safety precautions, including having the correct bike size, wearing a helmet, and observing street safety. Cyclists must have a bike that is the right size for them because an oversized bike is difficult to control and can lead to injury. Furthermore, children may not be able to put their feet flat on the ground when they are stopped if the bike is not the correct size.
Most importantly, wear a helmet that fits. Studies have shown that wearing a proper helmet can reduce head injuries by 85 percent. Knowing street safety techniques such as riding with the traffic, understanding hand signals, and staying visible to vehicles are also extremely important when riding on the road.
We recommend these ten tips to teach your family to stay safe while having fun riding your bike:
- Wear a helmet. Follow this simple rule, and you reduce your risk of serious injury by as much as 85%.
- Keep your head up and look forward, not at the ground. You need to see what is ahead so that you have time to react and maneuver.
- One person per bike. Riding with unsecured passengers puts you at risk for injury to yourself and others.
- Ride in single file with space between bikes.
- Ride on the right side of the road – never against traffic. Otherwise, you are at risk for an accident or even a ticket.
- Plan ahead if you will ride with a group. Agree on the route ahead of time. Know where you will go if separated by traffic.
- If you will be riding in an unfamiliar area, check out local laws and rules first.
- Avoid busy roads and peak traffic times on your route.
- Before riding at night, ask someone to help you check your visibility to motorists.
- Maintain the bikes in your household. Keep chains clean and lubricated and periodically inspect brake pads.
Do you have any bicycle tips you’d like to add? Share this blog on social media and post below with your own personal bicycle stories or safety recommendations.