Each year over 1000 bicyclists are fatally injured and over ½ million bicycle related injuries are treated in hospital emergency rooms. Males are five times more likely to be killed as bicyclists than females. More than half of all bicyclist deaths occur to school age youth (ages 5-17). Most bicyclist deaths result from bicycle-motor vehicle collisions. But injuries can happen anywhere - in parks, bike paths, and driveways and often do not involve motor vehicles. Head injuries are the most serious injury type and are the most common cause of deaths among bicyclists. The most severe injuries are those to the brain that cause permanent damage. Studies have proven that bicycle helmet use can significantly reduce head injuries.
Buy your child an approved bike helmet. Purchase one that has a sticker inside certifying the helmet meets standards of the Snell Memorial Foundation and/or the American National Standard Institute (ANSI Z90.4). Let your child help pick out the helmet color and design. They will be more apt to wear it willingly if they like how it looks and feels. If you are a rider, buy one for yourself too, and set a good example by wearing it. Also encourage your child's friends to wear helmets.
Make certain your child's bike is the correct size, safely maintained, and has reflectors. A general rule to follow is to not allow children under age nine to ride their bikes in the street. They are not able to identify and adjust to the many dangerous traffic situations.
Teach your child to always stop and look left-right-left before entering the road. This is a good pedestrian safety practice, too, for crossing the street.
If a bicyclist rides in the road, the cyclist must obey traffic laws that apply to motor vehicle operators. Instruct you child on the bicycle rules of the road. Driver licensing agencies and highway departments are good sources for booklets that explain bicycle safety rules. Enroll your child in a bike safety education program by contacting your neighborhood recreation center or the police department.
Never allow your child to ride at night or with audio headphones. Stress the need to ride alert since most drivers do not see riders. Bicyclists should ride single file on the right side and signal their intentions to other road users.
How To Fit a Bike Helmet...
- Place helmet level on the head. It should be snug and cover the forehead.
- Adjust the helmet straps so when buckled it cannot move from side to side or back and forth.
- There should be about one finger width of space between the chin and chin strap.
How To Fit A Bike...
- Lay your arm along the top bar with the elbow touching the seat. The fingertips should just reach the handlebars.
- Straddle the bike. There should be about one inch between the top bar and your crotch.
- Adjust the seat so you can sit on the seat and balance on you toes.
Equip your bike with reflectors, a white headlight and a bell or horn. Bright colored clothing and reflective material help bicyclists to be seen more easily.