This time of year is a great time for a bike ride and children typically prefer this mode of transportation to walking, as it gets them to where they’re going in a hurry. However, their freedom and independence can sometimes get the better of them and they forget all about bike safety (let’s face it, kids tend to subscribe to the belief that they are invincible). Before you let your kids head off on their bike to a local park or a friend’s house, be sure to teach them basic bike safety skills.
The first thing to teach them is the importance of wearing a helmet every time they ride their bike (even if it’s just on your driveway). “Helmet use has been estimated to reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent” (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). Many states and provinces have laws in place requiring the use of helmets for “children” (typically anyone under 16 to 18 years of age), and some even legislate bicycle helmet use for people of all ages.
It is important to know that other types of helmets (e.g. those used for hockey or other sports) do not provide the protection a child needs when riding a bike. In addition, a helmet must be worn correctly to provide protection in case of a fall or accident. Read this article by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, to find out more about this important piece of safety equipment and how to make sure your child’s bicycle helmet fits them properly.
In addition to helmets, there are other key pieces of bike safety equipment. This includes things worn by the rider, as well as attached to the bike, for increased safety. For further information, read this article by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
Keep an eye out for my next post, where I will outline basic bike safety rules to teach your children. It takes a little extra time and effort to prevent a bike injury, but it’s well worth it!