May is Bicycle Safety Month! The weather is warmer, and everyone is eager to get outside and be active. If this is your activity of choice, here are a few tips to keep your family safe while enjoying bike rides.

Why you should wear a helmet

Bike helmets reduce severe head injuries in children by 45% in the event of an unexpected fall or crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more children age 5 to 14 visit hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with bicycles than any other sport. It is important to wear a helmet when using any wheeled device including scooters, skateboards and in-line roller skates.

Helmets should be worn by children and adults every ride, every time.

Finding the proper fit

Use this easy three step process to properly fit a bike helmet:

  1. Eyes. Put the helmet on your head and look up. You should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The helmet should fit firmly on the head and not move from side to side.
  2. Ears. The straps should form a “V” under your ears when buckled. The straps should be a little tight but not uncomfortable.
  3. Mouth. Say “Ahhh!!!” Open your mouth as wide as you can. Does the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten the straps.

Is your bike in safe condition?

Conduct a quick ABC Quick Check before your ride!

A is for Air: Be sure you have enough air in your tires. Check the sidewall of the tire and inflate tires to the rated pressure indicated.

B is for Brakes: Look to see that your brake pads and cables are not worn down. For hand brakes, give them a squeeze to check cable tightness.

C is for Chain and Cranks: Always check that your chain is clean (free of gunk) and lubricated (rust-free).

Don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own? Check out a local bike shop in your area.

Be safe. Be seen.

Do you know the rules of the ride? Always use proper hand signals to alert other road users of actions. Click here for a quick reference guide.

It is also helpful to familiarize yourself with bike laws in your local jurisdiction which can often be found on your local Department of Transportation website.

Wear bright colored and/or reflective clothing. For added safety, reflectors or head and rear lights can be added to your bike.

Avoid loose or draped clothing and secure shoes with laces to avoid them being caught in the bike chain, pedals or wheels.

Safe riding!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Safe Kids Worldwide Safe Kids District of Columbia is a nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries.

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1 reply
  1. Shammy Peterson says:

    The best part of your blog is when you pointed out the importance of using bike helmets since they can reduce head injuries in children by 45%. This is something that I will consider because I am planning to rent bikes for my son and me. What I want is for my child to be trained in riding a bicycle, so I want to do rides with him. Since his safety is my priority, I will do all your tips.

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