The weather is perfect and that means it is time to introduce your child to the great outdoors once again. One of the best ways to do so is by having your child get out on their bike. Whether your child already knows how to ride or this is the summer when they are going to learn, you need to take a few extra steps to make sure they stay safe and to avoid bicycle accidents.
Unfortunately, drivers aren’t always paying attention and on the lookout, especially for children at play. So, before you let your child start riding off with friends or even venturing out on their own, you need to teach them the essentials about safety.
Make Bike Riding a Positive Experience
While riding your bike can be dangerous, do not make your children fear getting out on their bikes. After all, riding is fun and a healthy activity, and it also allows your child a little independence. But, you should remind your child that having a bike is a privilege and the bike is not a toy; it works just like a vehicle on the road.
That means your child needs to be just as responsible as someone driving a vehicle, and respect the rules of bike riding.
Essential Safety Tips
Before your child is allowed to use his or her bicycle, make sure the bike is safe to ride. That means making sure the chain is in good condition, tires are fully inflated, and the brakes work properly before taking your bike out.
After you know the bike is safe to ride, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- The helmet should fit properly. Never let your child ride a bike with a helmet that doesn’t fit. A helmet is what protect their brain and could be the difference between a fatal accident and just a serious one.
- Make sure the bike is adjusted to your child’s height. Have your child stand over his or her bicycle. There should be one to two inches between them and the top bar for a road bike and three to four inches for a mountain bike. The seat height should be adjusted until your child can sit on it and still reach the pedals with a slight bend in his or her knee.
- Inspect the Equipment. Tires should always be inflated before long bike rides and if your child rides their bike daily, check the air at least once a week.
- Teach your child to control their bike properly.Your child should always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars and if they need to carry anything, it should be carried in their backpack or a basket on the bike; not in their hands.
- Look at the road ahead. Your child should know to look forward and keep an eye out for any hazards, such as potholes, gravel, broken glass or other items that may cause them to lose control of their bicycle. Also, your child should look out for dogs that are not on a leash and ride away from them to avoid any attacks.
Always Check the Helmet
Helmets are the most important safety feature of your child’s bike. Your child needs a properly sized helmet that they can wear not only on their bike, but while skateboarding, skating or even using their scooter. The helmet you buy should be approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
To ensure your child wears the helmet, have them pick the one they want. Studies have shown that if a child picks out his or her own helmet and it is one they like, they are more likely to wear it without having to be told to do so.
You also should make sure your child knows how to put on their helmet and lock it into place. Adjust the chinstraps as well to make sure it fits snuggly. You child should also be able to see under the helmet and be able to turn their head without any issue.
Does Your Child Know the Rules of the Road?
Most accidents involving bicycles occur because someone ignores the rules of the road, whether it is the person on the bike or the person in the vehicle. Either way, you should teach your child about the rules of the road to make sure they understand their role on the streets.
- Your child should always ride his or her bike with the flow of traffic and never against traffic.
- Your child should know that if they choose to ride their bike on the street, they must follow traffic rules; therefore, they should stick to sidewalks.
- When appropriate, your child must yield to traffic.
- Your child should keep their bike in a predictable path and not drive all over the road, and avoid making sudden changes in their path with vehicles right behind them.
Also Read : Understanding The New Child Seat Laws In Florida
Sidewalk Versus Street, Which is Safer?
For children, riding on the sidewalk may be the safer option. But, remember that those in the vehicles are not looking for bikes on the sidewalk. So if your child chooses to ride on the sidewalk, then he or she still needs to look before crossing the street, and ensure the drivers make eye contact with them before they go through traffic.
Children less than10 years of age should ride on the sidewalk no matter what, and should avoid riding along busy streets unless supervised by a parent. But, if they choose to ride on the sidewalk, then there are a few rules they still need to follow, including:
- Making sure the city allows bike riders (even children) to ride on the sidewalk.
- Watching for vehicles that turn and cross over the crosswalk as well as vehicles that will cross the sidewalk to pull into driveways.
- Stopping at corners and looking for drivers before crossing the street.
- Avoiding entering the street between two parked cars or cross the street at an unauthorized point.
Was Your Child Injured in a Bicycling Accident? Contact the Attorneys at Scott J. Sternberg & Associates Today
There is nothing worse than seeing your child suffer, especially if it was a situation that could have been avoided. If your child was injured in a bike riding accident, then your family may be entitled to compensation for their injuries, pain, and suffering.
The West Palm Beach bicycle accident attorneys at Scott J. Sternberg & Associates are here to help represent your case. We can meet with you for a free, no obligation consultation today and tell you right away if you have a valid case against the negligent driver.
Call now to schedule your appointment by dialing 561-687-5660.