Wear a bike helmet and proper fitting clothes
- Helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury by 88 percent. Watch this video from Safe Kids Worldwide to learn how to make sure your child's helmet fits properly.
- Brightly colored clothing.
- Reflective arm and leg bands.
- Shoes with tied shoelaces, tight-fitting clothing and tucked-in pant legs. Protect your child from getting caught in the bike chain or wheel spokes.
Make sure your bike is the right size and working well
- A bike that's the right size, not one that your child will “grow into”. Your child's feet should be able to touch the ground when sitting on the seat of the bicycle.
- Check your equipment to make sure it's all working. Make sure the brakes work correctly, the gears shift smoothly and the tires are adequately inflated and tightly secured.
Avoid riding at night and in bad weather
- In daylight. Make sure the bike has a light and reflectors secured to it in case it gets dark outside while your child is still riding.
- In good weather. Avoid riding when it's rainy, windy or foggy.
Find a safe place to ride your bicycle
If your child is under age 10:
- Only on sidewalks, in parks or on bike paths. Developmentally, it's difficult for children to judge the speed and distance of cars until age 10.
If your child is over age 10:
- On the right side of the road close to the curb.
When passing parked cars, ride single file and a car door's length away
Stay alert at all times and control your bike
- Watched out for potholes, parked cars, and cracks in the sidewalk
- Don’t wear a headset when you ride
- Always keep your hands on the handlebars
Know how to communicate and signal your turns
- Use hand signals before turning or changing lanes.
- Yell out, “On your left!” when preparing to pass, or “Stopping!” when stopping suddenly.
Know road rules and other bicycle etiquette
- Yield for walkers! Bicyclists must obey the same traffic rules as motorists, such as stopping for stop signs, red lights and yield signs.
- Walk your bike across intersections using the crosswalk
- Check both directions when crossing streets or leaving your driveway
- Go with the flow of traffic and use a bike lane when they are available
These tips were compiled from resources distributed by Safe Kids Minnesota, an injury prevention coalition in which Regions Hospital is a proud partner. Regions Hospital leads the Safe Kids Greater East Metro/St. Croix Valley coalition. Learn more ways to keep your kids safe and avoid other common youth sports injuries.