Summer is here and bicycles are a great way for kids to get around the neighborhood, have fun and exercise! Here are some tips to make sure you and your family stay safe this summer when biking:
- Always wear a helmet and make sure it is properly fitted. Parents need to set a good example and wear a helmet as well! Helmets are also important for kids to wear on razor scooters, skateboards, rollerblades and bike trailers. Not only can kids be hit by cars, but they can hit a rough patch and become airborne or collide with each other. For more on helmet fitting techniques, see this video tutorial:
- Make sure to examine the integrity of the bicycle. Ensure that you have inflated the tires, greased the chains and checked the brakes before you ride.
- Stay visible to cars. Ride in a predictable pattern so that cars know what to expect. Consider wearing reflective clothing and installing a bicycle headlight if you ride near dusk.
- Wear proper clothing and footwear. Be aware of items that could get tangled in the bike chains such as shoelaces, purse strings, or loose pants. Do not go barefoot or wear flip flops as this will interfere with gripping the pedal.
- Don’t wear headphones. You need to use all of your senses to be alerted of potential dangers!
- Watch out for obstacles such as broken concrete, gravel, storm drains and puddles of unknown depth that could make you lose control of your bike.
- Ride on the sidewalk if possible. If you must ride in the street, ride single file on the right hand side, never ride against traffic!
- Don’t ride too close to cars, they might unexpectedly open the doors, potentially hitting a bicyclist or causing them to swerve and crash.
- Handle bars can cause significant injury, most often with children. Be on high alert if you child has injured their chest or abdomen and seek what you feel is appropriate medical treatment.
- It is best to walk your bike across designated intersections. Make sure to look both ways before crossing the street.
Remember a bicycle is a vehicle and not just a toy! We all have a responsibility to help ourselves and others stay safe! Find the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA): Be a Role Model information here. They have educational material and even a printout pledge, for yourself and your children, to help you be a responsible pedestrian and bicycle “Roll Model”.
-Erica Surman, RN, BSN, Pediatric Trauma Program Manager, Beaumont Health System