Currently, only 21 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of helmet legislation, most of which covers riders younger than 15. Children ages 10 to 14 are at the greatest risk for traumatic brain injury.
If your child has a helmet, make sure it fits correctly. It should be worn level and cover the forehead. The straps always should be fastened. Make sure the straps are adjusted and are snug enough so that the helmet cannot be pulled or twisted around the head. If the helmet is ever damaged or involved in a crash, get a new one.
JUST MY SIZE
Hand-me-down bicycles do not work for everyone in the family. Riding a bike that is the right size goes far in keeping children safe. Use the following tips when sizing up a bike:
- The seat should be high enough for the rider to sit on and still touch the ground with the balls of his or her feet
- The rider should be able to reach the handlebars comfortably
- The rider should be able to place feet flat on the ground when stopping
BE SEEN TO BE SAFE
Whether biking on a road or on a trail, one has to be seen to be safe. Wearing bright or reflective clothing, and using reflectors or reflective tape on bikes, help a rider’s visibility. You should wear something that will not get caught in your chain. Also, wear sneakers—instead of sandals or cleats—when biking; they will help in gripping the pedals.
SHARING THE ROAD
Bicyclists often share the road with cars. Riders should adhere to the following basic rules for both their safety and the safety of others:
- Use bike lanes or designated bike routes when possible
- Ride on the right side of the street, traveling in the same direction as cars
- Stop at all stop signs and obey street lights just as cars do
- When passing other bikers or people on the street, always pass to the left
The most common injuries on trails are from people stopping and not letting people behind them know. It is important to follow the traffic patterns and keep it flowing. If you are passing, let people know. Use signals like you would on the road. Trails are narrow and, if you’re looking at scenery, pull off to the side so that others can safely get through. If you’re not paying attention to your riding, you may be interfering with someone else’s riding.