Category Archives: Kid’s Health & Safety

Have a fun bike rodeo in your neighbourhood to teach bike safety!

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A couple weekends ago we attended a bike rodeo put on by our local Optimist Club, local bike shop and the Police.  It was a great FREE event that taught the kids all about bike safety.  The kids had a blast and I thought I would share the event with you because this would be something really fun to do right in your own neighbourhood to teach the kids about bike safety.

Station #1 –  Kids helmets and bikes were checked and air was put in their tires.

– Have some of the neighbourhood parents ready with bicycle pumps to fill up the kid’s tires

– Adjust seats to the correct height to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended

– As a bell is an important safety feature for a bike.  Perhaps give all kids participating a new bell for their bike!

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Station #2 – The kids were tested on their knowledge of traffic signals, arm signals and some basic road signs

– Print these signs out and have the kids match the name and meaning of the sign to the picture.  Review answers if incorrect

– Have all kids practice their arm signals as they will need to use these in the last station

Stop YieldRailroad_signPedestrian traffic-light-ahead

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Station #3 – Hopping on their newly tuned up bikes the had to show that they were steady enough to ride a straight line (made to look like a bike lane) while properly doing shoulder checks looking for cars.  There we people holding up pictures of cars and when the children saw these they were to look over their shoulder and yell “CAR”

– Mark out 2 straight lines with sidewalk chalk that they need to ride between.

– Place some pictures of cars along this path either on the ground or have adults hold them.  When they are beside the pictures of cars have them do a shoulder check and yell out.  This shows their alertness as well as their ability to stay between the lines when doing a shoulder check.

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Station #4The kids needed to show their ability to manoeuvre their bike through some pylons to show that they had control of their bike and the ability to safely avoid debris they might encounter

– Again, mark out a path they need to stay within and place items in their path that they need to safely manoeuvre around.

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Station #5 –  This last station was set up as little roads with stop signs where they were required to stop, look and use the appropriate hand signals to signal their turn.  

– Get that chalk ready again.  Mark out a few different pathways that lead to chalk drawn stop signs.  At each different stop sign have them turn in different directions to allow them to try and remember their hand signals.

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Bike Rodeo complete!  Congratulate all the Rodeo participants with a certificate and a fun summer treat like popsicles or freezies 🙂

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Check out our blog post Bike Safely for some additional ideas on teaching your children about being safe while riding their bikes.

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Bike Safely

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.

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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 pedalsIMG_4847

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

Ride Smart

  • 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.

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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.

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Know Road Signs 

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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.

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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!