Many children find that riding their bikes is an enjoyable pastime – it’s fun, healthy and a great way to be independent. But, it’s important to remember that a bicycle is a vehicle, and not a toy. Follow these bike safety tips to make sure your kid is riding safe.

Wear a properly fitted helmet

Wearing a helmet is a necessity, not an accessory. Bike helmets are key to preventing brain injuries in children who experience a fall or collision on their bike. Make it a rule that your child must wear a properly fitted helmet, particularly one that meets standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or another recognized safety body.

To maximize protection, ensure the helmet fits properly. 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.

Inspect your bike

Before your child hops on his or her bike make sure it is in good operating condition. Make sure the reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.

Be seen

Generally, children should not ride a bicycle when it’s dark, in the fog or in other low-visibility conditions. However, if you are supervising your child while he or she is riding during these conditions, use a light on the bike, and make sure the bike has reflectors. In addition, your child should wear clothes and accessories that have reflective materials to improve biker visibility to motorists.

Follow road rules

Help your child to understand the rules of the road when riding his or her bike. It’s important that your child know to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it; respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stop lights, and looking left, right, and left again before entering a street or crossing an intersection.

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