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 ways to help him stay safe.
Children may not have the skills needed to ride on the street until age 10. Younger children can ride on bike paths or on sidewalks. Even after age 10, make sure that your child is following safety rules:
Get a bicycle helmet before your child takes his first bicycle ride. Make sure the helmet fits properly. Even a child riding in a bicycle carrier should wear a helmet. Your child should wear a helmet every time he gets onto a bicycle. You can do a lot to encourage your child to wear a helmet. Some ways include:
Also teach your child to wear shoes when riding a bike (no bare feet or sandals). Your child should not wear loose clothing that could catch on chains or spokes. Your child should not wear headphones while riding.
Children who try to ride bicycles that are too big for them are more likely to get injured. Never buy or allow the use of a bicycle that the child will "grow into."
Your child should be able to touch both feet on the ground comfortably when standing over the bicycle. The top bar of a road bicycle should be 1 to 2 inches below the crotch while the child is standing. The top bar of a mountain bike should be 3 to 4 inches below the crotch while the child is standing. The seat should be level front to back. Adjust the seat so that your child has a slight bend at the knee when his leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be at the same level with the seat. Your child should be able to reach the handlebars comfortably while sitting in an upright position.
Children just learning to ride on streets should use a bike with foot brakes. Foot brakes require less coordination for safe use. Older children can use bicycles with hand brakes and gear shifts.
You and your child should regularly check the bicycle's brakes and tire pressure. If the bicycle has rapid release hubs, check the hubs before each ride. Repair damaged parts such as wheels, spokes, or handlebars before your child rides the bike again.
For more information, contact your local bicycle shop, police station, or: