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Bicycle Safety Tips for Children

A family bike ride is a wonderful chance to spend some quality time together as well as ensure your child builds gross motor skills and improves their physical health.

However, proper bicycle safety is an important component of the fun, and it should be taught to your child early. Here are some bike safety tips for kids.

Teach your child basic bike safety

Instill in your child as early as possible that bike riding an important responsibility. Even if you’re not riding on the road, you can teach your child basic safety skills, including:

  1. Keep both hands on the handlebars at all times.

  2. Stay on the right side of the sidewalk or path.

  3. Look ahead instead of being distracted by things around them.

  4. Be aware of cyclists and pedestrians coming in the opposite direction.

  5. Stop and looking both ways before crossing the road or an intersecting path.

  6. Walk their bike across an intersection instead of riding it across.

Always ensure your child wears a helmet

A well-fitting helmet is critical to keeping your child safe while riding their bike, even if you never leave your driveway. According to pediatrician Dr. Kristie Rivers, a bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of brain injury by 88%. Getting your child used to wearing a helmet as early as possible will ensure that it becomes a lifelong safety habit. There are many fun and brightly-colored kids’ bike helmets available that will also make them fun for your child to wear.

Choose the right-sized bike

With all the bicycles out there to choose from, it can seem tempting to just pick the one your child likes best. However, making sure the bike is also the right size for your child means they can operate it safely and confidently. If your child can sit on the seat with their hands comfortably on the handlebars, and the balls of both feet touch the ground, then the bike is the correct size. If your child doesn’t yet have the hand strength to squeeze handlebar brakes, look for a bike with pedal brakes instead.

Ensure your child wears safe and brightly-colored clothing

Brightly-colored clothing will help your child stay visible to drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists – which is important even in the daytime. You can also attach reflectors to your kid’s bike and clothing to further boost their visibility.

In addition to the brightness of your child’s clothes, make sure that they’re also safe to ride a bike in. For example, pant legs or sleeves should not be so long that they get caught on the bicycle’s moving parts or handlebars.

Stick to sidewalks or paths as much as possible

Children younger than 10 should ride their bikes on sidewalks or bike paths. If your child is older than 10 but still developing their bicycling proficiency, you may want to keep them off the roads until they’re more confident and less likely to be overwhelmed by vehicle traffic. Older children have usually developed their skills enough so that they are better suited to riding on the road.

Teaching your child valuable bicycle safety skills will help make a family bike ride an enjoyable way to get exercise and fresh air. In addition, riding your bike along with your child can give you peace of mind about their safety and comfort level with bikes as they grow.

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