All riders need a bike of the proper size, preferably with a horn or a bell for young riders. Once you have chosen the right bike, frequently perform this seven-point inspection on your kids’ bikes and your own:
- Brakes – smooth, responsive
- Chain – oiled, tight
- Handlebars – secure on each side
- Seat – fixed in place
- Front/rear reflectors – clean, no cracks
- Tires – no cuts or cracks
- Wheels – no loose or broken spokes
Wearing a helmet reduces kids’ risk of severe brain injury by 88 percent. CDC reports only 15 percent of children use helmets all or most of the time while cycling. (Just 19 percent of adults wear a helmet when they ride.) Lead by example and make sure you and your child wear bright, well-ventilated helmets on every ride.
Make sure the helmet fits and your child knows how to put it on correctly. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position and should not rock forward, backward or side to side. The helmet straps should be buckled but not fit too tightly. Visit Safe Kids to review the helmet fit test.
If you and your children ride near dark – either early or late – help improve motorists’ ability to see everyone:
- Wear white or bright colors and reflective materials
- Use front lights, helmet lights, blinkers and/or reflectors
It’s important to teach your children how to ride cautiously and confidently. In addition to wearing a helmet, teach your kids to:
- Make eye contact with drivers at intersections before crossing.
- Ride with traffic, not against it.
- Stay as far to the right as possible.
- Learn and use appropriate hand signals.
- Obey traffic signals.
- Stop and look left, right and left again before entering a street or crossing an intersection.
- Look behind and yield to oncoming traffic before turning left.
- Remember, your children are watching you, so be a good example!