Bike riding is, for many children, their first taste of independence. It allows them to travel on their own without depending on parents or others to take them there and learn to take responsibility for themselves. But, as all good parents know, there are also risks that come with that independence. It is important that you and your children know these three bicycle safety tips for kids:
1) Wear a helmet. This is the single most important tip for anyone, child, or adult, riding a bike. Making sure you find a properly fitted helmet is only the first step. Once you have a properly fitted helmet, there has to be an agreement in place that the child will actually wear it.
Be prepared for some pushback from the kids because they think they are invincible and that helmets may not be "cool." Do not let this sway you as a parent. Helmets are not and should not be optional for bike riders. It is the law in King County and many other counties in Washington State. You, too, must wear a helmet, so set a good example, and always wear yours.
Note: Let children personalize their helmets with stickers (especially reflective); this way they will be more willing to wear them.
2) Be visible. Children often fail to recognize that they are, even on their bikes, smaller than cars and so they need to be as visible as possible. Wearing bright and/or reflective colors (especially when riding in low light conditions) is essential to their safety. Another great idea of visibility is to have children make eye contact with drivers to ensure the drivers see them.
Make sure to outfit your child’s bike with a light and reflectors.
3) Ride smart. This means following the rules of safety and of the road. First of all, be sure that your bike is in proper riding condition. Make sure you:
- Check tires and brakes
- Check the sizing of the bike against the size of the child riding it
- Ensure all the mechanical parts of the bike are working correctly
Once you have the bike in good working order, make sure your child knows and understands the rules of the road:
- They should ride with traffic, not against it.
- They should ride as far to the right as possible and if there is a bike lane, they should stay within it.
- They should try to avoid road hazards such as potholes or loose gravel.
- They should always ride with a friend and have some way of communicating if they need help.
- They should always stop and look both ways before riding out into the street.
- They should also learn and know proper hand signals for riding in the road.
- Last but certainly not least, they should not be riding while listening to music and should never text and ride.
While all of these tips can be helpful in keeping kids safe, sometimes accidents do happen. If your child suffered injuries in a bicycling accident, a Seattle bicycle accident lawyer can help. Contact Max Meyers Law PLLC at 425-399-7000.