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Kids And Bicycle Safety

Apr 25, 2008
One of the most enjoyable activities in a child's life is bicycle riding. Kids seem to use bicycles to go everywhere. Teaching your child the proper bicycle safety can prevent them from sustaining any serious injuries.

The first step to safety with a bicycle is the bicycle itself. Making sure that the bicycle is kept in good operating condition is important. Your child should check the brakes regularly and in the case of hand brakes, worn pads should be replaced. Rims that have missing spokes should also be replaced to ensure that the wheels are sturdy, especially if your child is doing a lot of jumping. Reflectors and headlights are helpful accessories if your child rides in traffic frequently. You should also check that your child's bicycle is adjusted properly for his height. If the child cannot touch the ground properly, this situation can make his ability to stop and start difficult and can pose a serious threat when riding in traffic.

Clothing is a very important element to practice bicycle safety. Your child should wear a helmet at all times to prevent him from sustaining a head injury. Smaller children who are still shaky on their bicycles may want to wear elbow and knee pads also. For children who ride regularly in traffic, reflective or light colored clothing is recommended, especially for riding past dusk in the evening. These clothes will enable oncoming motorists to see them against the dark sky.

Younger children should not ride in traffic at all and older children should refrain from doing it unless there is no other choice. Your child should try to stick to marked paths or trails instead of busy city streets. If your child does need to ride in traffic, he should always remember to travel in the same direction as the traffic. Hand signals should always be performed when turning in traffic so the motorists will know which way the child is going to go. The standard hand signals are extending the left arm straight out to turn left and bending the left arm at the elbow with the forearm pointing up to turn right. These only take a few minutes to do and can prevent your child from being hit by an oncoming vehicle.

For older children, riding double is never a good idea. Single-seated bicycles are not designed to be ridden with two people on them. It throws your balance off and both you and your passenger can be hurt in a spill.

Many children also enjoy jumping on their bicycles. This is not recommended on a bicycle with a standard design. For children that want to do a lot of jumping, the mountain bikes that are on the market hold up best during this activity. The rims are reinforced and do not bend as easily to make for easier landings. It is recommended that these children should do this kind of jumping in existing bike ramp areas. Building ramps and jumps on their own can be a key for disaster.

Bicycling can be a lot of fun, but it can be dangerous as well. By teaching your child bicycle safety, you can ensure that he has a safe and enjoyable experience.
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