The weather is warming up and bikes have come out of storage, but are you and your bike ready for another season?
Cycling is a fun and active way to spend time with children. It is important to teach children that bicycles are not toys; they are vehicles! Be sure to follow some basic safety tips when riding.
- Wear a Helmet. Anyone under the age of 18 is required to wear a helmet. Wearing a properly fitted bike helmet can make a huge difference, cutting the risk of serious head injury by up to 80%.
- Check Your Helmet. Always check to make sure your helmet fits and is being worn properly. Two fingers above your eyebrow, straps should form a “V” under your ears, one finger space between strap and chin.
- Check Your Ride. Before heading out for a bike ride always check the bike, make sure everyone’s bikes are adjusted for their height, tires are inflated and brakes are working.
- Be Prepared. Learning bicycle safety and the rules of the road is important for riders. Be sure to use appropriate hand signals and obey traffic signs. Before you head out on a bike ride, ask children to show you the hand signals for turning left, right and stopping. Remind children to get off their bikes and walk them when crossing the street.
- Choose Family Friendly Routes. There are designated bike paths/trails all around. These paths are a great place for less experienced riders, they can improve their skills in a safe environment.
- Be Seen and Heard. Wear bright, reflective clothing, and equip your bike with flashing lights or reflectors to be visible to others. Having a working bell on your bike is also a good idea; it allows you to gain attention or other riders and pedestrians, letting them know you are close by or passing them.
- Riding with Children. Use care and caution when cycling with young children who are too young to ride by themselves. Keep in mind that a bicycle child seat mounted behind the bicycle seat alters your centre of gravity while riding and may increase the risk of losing balance. Take extra caution when placing and removing the child from the carrier. An alternative way to carry children is to use a child bicycle trailer towed behind your bicycle. Bike trailers are stable and not prone to tipping. Most trailers are attached either directly to the bike frame or the seat post. Warning: Children are required to wear an approved helmet when riding in a child carrier or a bicycle trailer.
- Know where to ride. Children younger than 10 years should ride on the sidewalk and avoid the street.
Cycling is good for your health and the environment too. Have fun and ride safe!