June 6th, 2012
With the warm months of summer upon us, it’s a great time to take the kids biking. Here are a few safety tips to insure you have a safe yet fun ride.
First and most importantly is having the proper equipment. Helmets should be worn at all times by everyone, including parents. (Remember, you are the role model.) The helmet should fit snug and cover the forehead, and should be approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Get a new helmet if it is old, has any damage or cracks, or was involved in an accident – even if it doesn’t appear to be damaged. Any damage to the helmet makes it less affective. Second, your child should ride the proper size bike. They should be able to put the balls of their feet on the ground when sitting on the seat and should be able to straddle the center bar with feet flat on the ground. Finally, make sure the bike is in good condition. The tires should be inflated properly, brake pads should not be worn down and all the gears should be working smoothly.
Now you are ready to go but where do you ride? The best place to ride with young children is on a designated bike trail. These trails are away from traffic, are wide and well maintained. If you cannot get to a bike trail, you can ride in your neighborhood but will need to be extra cautious of cars. Young children should ride only with adult supervision and off the street. The decision to allow older children to ride on side streets depends on the individual child and their knowledge of bike safety rules, such as riding the same direction as traffic and stopping at all intersections. Children should never ride their bkes in the dark. Riding on main roads can be dangerous and only safe for biking professionals and adult riders.
So put those two wheelers in motion. Have some fun and get some exercise while you’re at it!
Jaime Fell PA-C