Knowing the rules of bicycle safety can help your child avoid a serious injury. Here are some facts about bicycle injuries:
If your child is learning to ride or already rides a bicycle, here are several safety points that you should consider.
Bicycle rules need to be appropriate for the age of the child. Children should not ride in the street until they understand and are able to follow the rules of bicycling.
General safety rules:
Street safety rules:
Children may not learn or have the skills needed to ride on the street until age 10. Even after this age, you should periodically check your child's skills. Check to see if your child pays attention to potential dangers such as rocks, tree limbs, and cars exiting driveways or alleys.
Helmets reduce the risk of serious head injury or death from bicycle accidents. Get a bicycle helmet before your child takes his first bicycle ride. Even a child riding in a bicycle carrier should wear a helmet. A child should always wear a helmet every time she gets onto a bicycle.
Parents can do a lot to encourage a child to wear a helmet. Some ways include:
Having the right size of bicycle is important for the safety of your child. Children riding bicycles that are too big for them are injured more often then children with the proper size of bike. Never buy or allow the use of a bicycle that the child will "grow into."
A child should be able to touch both feet on the ground comfortably when standing over the bicycle. The top bar of the bicycle should be at least 1 inch below the crotch while the child is standing. Your child should be able to reach the handlebars comfortably while sitting on the bicycle seat in an upright posture.
Children just learning to ride on streets should use a bike with foot brakes. Foot brakes require less coordination for safe use. Children who can safely ride on roadways can use bicycles with hand brakes and manual gear shifts.
A child or parent should regularly check the bicycle's brakes and tire pressure. If the bicycle has rapid release hubs, check the hubs before each ride. Bicycles with damaged parts such as wheels, spokes, or handlebars should be repaired before they are used again.
For more information on bicycle safety, contact your local bicycle shop or police station. Information on bicycle safety is also available from: