Make sure your child's bike and helmet are the correct size. He or she must be able to straddle the bike with both feet on the ground; a bike that is too big or too small is a safety hazard. At a minimum, your child's first bike should be equipped with a bell and reflectors.

For young children, set the following hard and fast rules:

  • Don't play on the road.

  • Do not ride a bike on busy streets.

  • Do not ride a bike at night.

  • Stop for all caution/stop signs

āš ļøCommon dangers

Most children's bicycle injuries do not involve motor vehicles. Most are falls, collisions with stationary objects, and collisions with other bicycles or pedestrians, resulting from the bicyclist's loss of control, and most occur close to home, in familiar surroundings.

  1. Take your child to a caution and stop sign, explain what it means, emphasizing the following:

  2. Stop at all warning/stop signs, regardless of what is happening.

  3. Look carefully in both directions for traffic.

  4. Wait for cross traffic to clear.

  5. Continue when safe.

Above all, practice your behavior and be exemplary!

šŸ“£ Driving and signaling maneuvers

Teach your children to walk their bikes on busy streets, at least until they have advanced training and are old enough to understand traffic. Meanwhile, for residential street driving, you can teach them to always look and signal before making a left turn.

Go to a playground to practice riding along a straight line of paint while looking back. Stand to the side and hold two fingers on your hand after the child passes. Call your name. After 10-15 minutes of practice, a 10-year-old should be able to look back and identify how many fingers you're holding up, all without drifting.

šŸŒ†After dark

Rule out night driving for your child . It requires special skills and equipment. Few children have either. Let your child understand that if he is caught on a bike after dark, all he can do is call for a ride home.

šŸš“Following the leader

Many car and bicycle crashes occur when children follow each other. Teach your child to always assess the traffic situation for himself. When a group is traveling, each cyclist must stop at stop signs. Everyone should look behind before turning left.

šŸ¤•Head injuries

Most occur in falls or as a result of bicyclists losing control. A bad fall can be the result of skidding, a wheel caught in a crevasse, or even a shoelace catching on the chain.

Head injuries cause the majority of bicycle-related deaths and can lead to serious injuries, including brain damage. Up to 88 percent of serious head injuries could be prevented by wearing a helmet. It is essential that your child wear a certified bicycle helmet, and that once it is on it fits well.

When choosing a helmet, your child should carefully try on several helmets. Level the helmet on your child's forehead and adjust the chin strap for a snug and comfortable fit. It should protect the forehead without sliding forward or backward; and should not move unless the scalp moves. A salesperson at your store can advise you and help you make sure the fit is correct.

Insist that your child always wear a helmet when riding a bike. (It goes without saying that parents should set an example by always wearing theirs when riding their bikes.) Remember, a helmet only works when you wear it!

Never forget that example is the best teacher.

Get in the helmet habit.

Always stop at stop signs.

Practice what you teach.

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