Bike safety tips to keep you riding high

With May being National Bike Month, it’s important to not only promote biking as a safe and fun method of transportation, but to remind parents about bike safety information, such as wearing a helmet. 

Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent. However, many children simply don’t wear them. We have a simple saying, ‘Use your head. Wear a helmet.”

More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport. Each year, 112 children ages 19 and under die from bicycle-related injuries and more than 289,000 nonfatal bicycle injuries occur.  

Bicycle safety Here are some tips from Safe Kids Wichita Area families should follow when biking: 

Find the right helmet fit 

  • A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, and should not rock forward, backward or side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled, but not too tightly. Safe Kids recommends kids take the Helmet Fit Test. 
  • EYES check: Position the helmet on your head. Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.  
  • EARS check: Make sure the straps of the helmet form a “V” under your ears when buckled. The strap should be snug but comfortable. 
  • MOUTH check: Open your mouth as wide as you can. Do you feel the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten those straps and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.  

Pick out the right bike 

  • Ensure proper bike fit by bringing your child along when shopping for a bike. Select one that is the right size for your child, not one he or she will grow into. When children are sitting on the seat of the bicycle, their feet should be able to touch the ground. 

Model and teach good behavior 

  • Tell kids to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
  • Teach your kids to make eye contact with drivers. Bikers should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.  

Be bright, use lights 

  • When riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, be bright and use lights – and make sure your bike has reflectors as well. It’s also smart to wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve biker visibility to motorists. 

About Ronda Lusk

I am the Safe Kids Wichita Area coordinator and outreach coordinator for Via Christi Hospitals in Wichita, Kansas.
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