Essential bicycle tips for parents
Getting your child their first bike is an exciting time for them, and for you! Teaching some bike safety basics will help to keep your child safe while out and about on their bike.
Unfortunately many of the injuries sustained by children who have been involved in bicycle accidents could have been avoided by firstly wearing a helmet- this is a MUST, and secondly, having some basic training on road rules and safety.
Learning to Ride a Bike
When you first get your new bike let your beginning biker ride in a safe area, such as your driveway, an empty carpark, or on a quiet area of a bike track.
Have your little one practice basic skills, such as how to stop at the end of a drive or street by looking left, right, and left again before proceeding. Once they are able to stop and start and have had a bit of practice down a few hills you can also teach them how to shoulder check, where they glance over their shoulder while pedaling forward in a straight line.
out and about
Young children will be new to the rules of the road as a cyclist and you will need some patience in teaching them.
Once they understand and can obey bike safety rules without your help then you can bike together in your neighborhood. Show your child how to watch for vehicles coming from all directions. If you do not feel comfortable with your child out in the streets then you can go to a bike track where there are less vehicles and road crossings to deal with.
Wearing Bike Helmets
Bike helmets are so important to bike safety that governments have special safety standards to make sure helmets are up to scratch!
By starting your child out wearing a bike helmet from the word go, they will naturally reach for their helmet when they get on their bike. They come in such great colours and styles that my daughter actually wants to wear hers because ‘it’s cool!’
Make sure your child has a bicycle helmet that fits, and that is fitted properly. You can go into a bike shop and get someone to fit your childs’ helmet to make sure it is giving them the proper protection. The straps should fit snugly under the chin so that the helmet cannot doesn’t move or twist around.
Bike helmets need to be looked after, your kids shouldn’t throw them around as this could damage them. If the helmet does get a hard knock in a fall then it will need to be replaced.
Suitable clothing for bike riding
Encourage your kids to wear suitable clothes for bike riding. Loose pants, long skirts and summery sandals are all potentially going to catch in a bike chain. Proper shoes with good soles will give them good grip on the pedals, particularly if the weather is a little wet. Bright clothing, particularly for older children who are out on bikes on their own, will help them to be seen by cars.
Make sure your child is riding a bike that is the correct size for his/her height.
When both feet are on the ground there should be 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 centimeters) of space between their groin and the top bar.
Although it is tempting to buy a bike that they can ‘grow into’ the potential is that they will ride it once or twice, fall off because the bike is too big, and then not want to get on a bike again, well not for a long time anyway!
Some things to regularly check on your childs’ bike-
- Check the tires to make sure they have enough air.
- Make sure the seat, handlebars, and wheels fit tightly.
- Check and oil the chain when you see any rust appearing- keeping your bike stored out of the weather will improve the life of the chain.
- Check the brakes to make sure they are responsive and not sticky.
And Remember- Be Seen, Be Safe!
Happy riding ;0)