Smart Route to Bicycle Safety
Riding a bicycle is more than just basic transportation —
it can be a fun and exciting hobby. When your children ride, remember
that they're not alone. They share the road with cars, trucks,
pedestrians, and other cyclists. Since accidents can turn a bicycle
adventure into a bicycling tragedy, here are some tips to help make
your children's ride a safe one.
What You Can Do
Tell children to wear helmets. Studies have shown that using a
bicycle helmet can reduce head injuries by up to 85 percent. Select
a helmet that has a snug, but comfortable fit. Look for the helmet
labels that show they are recommended by either the American National
Standards Institute, www.ansi.org,
or the Snell Memorial Foundation, www.smf.org.
- Make sure children wear proper clothing. Clothing should be
light in color and close fitting to avoid being caught in the
bicycle's moving parts. Also, be sure books and other loose
items are carried in a backpack.
- Teach children to obey the rules of the road. These include
all traffic signs, signals, and road markings. Teach children
to ride on the right side of the street in single file and to
use proper hand signals. Tell children never to hitch rides by
grabbing onto moving cars or trucks.
- Teach children that before entering a street or intersection
to check for traffic and always look left-right-left. Walk the
bike across busy streets at corners or crosswalks.
- Children's bikes should display both front and rear reflectors.
They should ride only in familiar areas and only during the daylight
- Make sure children's bikes are adjusted properly. Check
to make sure that all parts are secure and working. The handlebars
should be firmly in place and turn easily. The wheels should be
straight and secure. Check tires for pressure, bulges, and cracks.
- Teach children to always lock up their bike. A U-lock should
be used, securing both the front wheel and the frame to a stationary
object such as bike rack. Help children practice locking up their
- Be sure children do not show off on their bikes. Hands should
be kept on the handlebars, only one person should be on the bike
at a time, and jumping curbs should not be allowed.
- Record the serial numbers of your children's bikes and
keep them with the sales receipt and a photograph of the bike.
Check with local police or the National Bike Registry (NBR) at
800-848-BIKE about bike registration programs. NBR recently partnered
with NCPC to help return stolen bikes to their rightful owners.
- Mark children's bikes with an engraver to deter thieves
and to help in identifying and returning a stolen bike. Use a
unique number, such as your driver's license number.
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Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council