The nice weather is great because it gets the kids out and gets them active. Bike riding is always a favourite activity with kids and it is important that they learn to do it safely! It is not recommended that children under 10 ride on the road but rather should ride on the sidewalk. No matter where your child rides it is important that you lead by example and teach them the rules of safe biking from an early age.
Before you head out…
Adjust the bicycle to fit the child
- While standing over the bike there should be 1-2″ between your child and the cross bar.
- The seat height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended.
- Children’s feet should be able to touch the ground
Do a bicycle check
- Make sure the tires are inflated and brakes are in working order.
- Does the bicycle have a bell and front and back reflectors?
Wear appropriate clothing
- Loose and dangling clothing can get caught in wheels and cause a crash. Be sure nothing is hanging near tires
- Proper footwear is important so they can keep control of the pedals
Always wear a properly fitting helmet
- 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 must always be buckled, but not too tightly.
- Using a helmet with a dial in the back allows you to properly adjust the helmet to fit.
- Position the helmet on your head. Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
- Make sure the straps of the helmet form a “V” under your ears when buckled. The strap should be snug but comfortable.
- Open your mouth as wide as you can. Do you feel the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten those straps and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.
- Always replace a helmet after a crash as it crushes the foam in the helmet.
*Matt Burger of Spokes ‘N’ Slopes
- Teach by example – Your child watches you so wear a helmet and follow all the rules of the road!
- Stop, look and listen before entering any roadway
- Ride in a straight line so that you are predictable and not swerving all over the place
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Watch for cars pulling out of driveways and for parked cars
- Always avoid road hazards – Items on the road should such as potholes, rocks, glass and oil should be safely be avoided to prevent wipeouts.
- Make eye contact with drivers so you know that they see you.
- Never ride out from between cars
- Follow the rules of the road – Stop for all stop signs and traffic lights
- Yield to traffic
- Although it’s not recommended to ride at night due to poor visibility to your child and other drivers, if need be go bright to be seen. Wear bright reflective clothing, be sure the bike has front and back reflectors and install a light on the bike.
Know Arm Signals
When your children are old enough and stable enough to ride on the road, or preferably in a bike lane, they need to know the importance of using arm signals. When riding on the road you should always ride with traffic which means that arm signals will always be done with their left arm as this is the closest arm to traffic.
Know Road Signs
Children need to know what the lights on a traffic light means. Have them review what each of the colours mean and how they need to react to each. In addition, these signs below will be very helpful in keeping them safe while they enjoy a some exploring on their bikes.
Happy bike riding and keep safe!
*Thank you to Matt Burger of Spokes ‘N’ Slopes for taking the time to answer all my questions and provide me with some great information for this blog post. Matt’s passion for bike safety is truly inspiring and part of what makes him a successful business owner!