Seven road safety tips to keep your children safe while biking.
Tips from Parachute Canada, a national charitable organization dedicated to the prevention of injuries and saving lives.
- Protect their heads with a helmet. A properly fitted and correctly worn bike helmet can make a dramatic difference, cutting the risk of serious head injury by up to 80 per cent.
- Fit the helmet properly. Follow the 2V1 rule: two fingers above your eyebrow, straps form a ‘v’ under your ears, one finger space between strap and chin.
- Check their ride. Ensure your kids’ bikes are adjusted correctly for their height. Also, have them get in the habit of doing a bike check before getting on, checking that the tires are inflated and the brakes are working properly.
- Teach them the rules of the road. Getting trained in bicycle safety and rules of the road is important for the safety of riders. Be sure to use appropriate hand signals and obey all traffic signs. Ask your kids to show you the signals for stop, right and left-hand turns before getting on their bikes. This can be a fun quiz. Also, remind your kids to dismount when crossing the street.
- Suggest family-friendly routes. Designated riding areas are in place for everyone’s safety. Using these routes is a great option for less experienced riders so they can build confidence and skills in a safe environment. Great paths can be found online.
- Ride in the same direction as traffic. Teach them to always ride on the right side of the road, going in the same direction as traffic. They’ll be more visible to drivers who will be able to see their hand signals. If you are riding with your kids, have them follow your lead by biking single file and repeating all the hand signals you make.
- Make sure they’re seen and heard. Another important part of riding is making sure drivers can see you when it is not very light outside. Wearing bright, reflective clothing and equipping a bike with flashing lights and reflectors helps increase visibility. A working bell is always a great idea to gain the attention of other riders and pedestrians to let them know you are close by or passing them. Using your voice works, too.