By Beverly Hopps
Health Educator, Safe Kids WNC/Mission Children’s Hospital
Spring is here and it’s a wonderful time to be outside biking with your family. Here are few bicycle safety tips that can keep you and your family biking safely:
- Always wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet. Wearing your helmet correctly is the single most important way to protect your brain – and your life – when you ride your bike. Parents, be good role models for your children and wear your properly fitted helmet every time you ride. Helmets reduce the risk of head and brain injury by 85 percent.
- Wear white or bright colored clothing so you can be seen. When riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, be bright and use lights – and make sure your bike has reflectors as well. It’s also smart to wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve biker visibility to motorists.
- Ride on sidewalks or safe areas only, and when riding on the street, ride with – not against – the flow of traffic.
- When entering a path or driveway, make a complete stop and look left, right, then left again before entering a roadway or intersection. Obey traffic rules and signs, and use proper hand signals when turning.
- Ride only during the daytime. Stay alert – always look and listen for traffic, pedestrians or other bicycles.
- Ensure proper bike fit by bringing the child along when shopping for a bike. Select one that is the right size for the child, not one he or she will grow into.
- When children are sitting on the seat of the bicycle, their feet should be able to touch the ground.
- Before the ride, make sure the reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly, and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.
- Long or loose clothing can get caught in bike chains or wheel spokes. Dress young kids appropriately to ensure a safe ride.
Beverly Hopps is a Safe Kids Educator at Mission Children’s Hospital.