Note: this is the second post in a two-part series on children's bike safety. You can read our first post, featuring tips to get kids ready to ride, here.
Getting kids the right bike and safety gear is only the first step in helping them stay accident-free on their bicycles. It's also important to review some basic – but important – rules for when they ride their bikes. Not only will it help them make smart bike riding decisions, it will keep drivers aware of what your child is doing on the road.
According to safety experts, children younger than 10 should ride on the sidewalk and not the street. Young children should always be supervised by an adult, and when they are old enough to ride by themselves, parents should go over exactly where the child will ride and how long the route should take. Parents should decide when their child is ready to ride on their own based on their child's maturity and how safe their community is. If possible, have your child attend a bike safety class.
Cars are an obvious danger (even when not riding on the street as some driveways cut through sidewalks); however, there are a few other conditions that can cause a fall:
If your child is allowed to ride on the street, make sure to review these rules. Let your child know that these aren't optional.
The following hand signals are helpful for children who are old enough to safely use them:
It's also a good idea to have a bike safety plan. Run through "what if" scenarios with your child and consider if there's a friend's house they can go to if an emergency happens far away from your home. Sometimes a little bit of planning can go a long way.
Regular maintenance is crucial to bike safety. Parents should make sure:
It's also important to check training wheels often. Many times training wheels are made inexpensively, with the thought that they won't be used long. Make sure they are securely attached and have appropriate wear.
Taking the right precautions can go a long way toward keeping your child safe on bike rides, but some things are out of your control. If your child was injured in a bicycle accident – whether it was due to a motorist, a defective bicycle, or dangerous road conditions – we're here to help and are available 24/7.