Just like responsible parents, our pediatricians are interested in keeping your children well – this includes helping your kids stay safe while riding their bikes. The National Safety Council reports a 6% increase in bike accidents in recent years, likely due to increased traffic, population density in urban areas, and a variety of other causes. There are 80 million bicyclists now sharing the road with motorized vehicles, and your children are among them.
How to Keep Kids Safe When Biking
There are a few ways that your pediatrician recommends for teaching bicycle safety to your children:
1. Help your kids stay visible to drivers: There are a few factors that can cause a driver not to view your child on a road, aside from texting while driving. Children are usually lower in a driver's sightlines, and they are also vying for a driver’s attention among many other road distractions such as traffic signals, construction, and more. By clothing your children in bright colors, or even having them wear a brightly colored safety vest while riding, you can call a driver’s attention to their presence, thus avoiding an accident. Also, be sure that your child’s bike has reflectors on the rear and front of the pedals and possibly on the seat and handlebars.
2. Encourage your child to wear a bike helmet. Helmets can protect the brain and reduce head injuries should they accidentally be hit by a driver. A properly fitting helmet should be buckled under the chin, and shouldn’t wiggle more than an inch when worn.
3. Teach your kids to be proactive cyclists. When riding, teach your children to watch out for parked cars that might open their doors, road hazards, common traffic flows, and rules that motorists usually follow. This can be a precursor to their learning to drive and will equip them with a sense of what drivers are most likely to do so that they can act accordingly while bicycling.
You can talk to your pediatrician about additional ways to keep your children safe when out riding their bikes. There is nothing more important than keeping your children safe, and bicycle safety is an important way to do it.