Bicycle Safety Tips for Your Kids

April 21st, 2014
Bicycle safety for kids

Riding a bicycle to school can be fun for your child, but can also create concern and stress as a parent. The best way to prepare your child to ride their bike to school is to practice together. Ride bikes together using the safest route. Show your child the safety rules by slowing down at stop signs, signaling when necessary and abiding by the bicycle rules of the road. And of course, always wear a helmet.

In Toronto, adults over the age of 18 are not required by law to wear a helmet. Children, and young adults (18 and under) are required by law to wear a helmet while cycling.

Before your child begins riding to school, take time to practice riding skills in a safe place with no traffic, like an empty parking lot.

Practice.
Children should work on important skills such as starting and stopping, riding in a straight line, looking over their shoulders, and signaling to vehicles. The better children are at riding, the less likely they are to crash.

Use The Right Gear.
Your child should only use a bicycle that is the right size, not one that is too big or too small. One of the smartest things your child can do to stay safe on a bicycle is wear a helmet. If your child falls or crashes, a helmet is the best protection against head and brain injury.

A helmet that fits properly is very important; it should fit low on your child’s forehead, just two fingers above the eyebrow. Your child should be able to look up and see the helmet; otherwise it’s too far back. Your child should dress to be visible to motorists at all times of the day. Just like pedestrians, bicyclists are most easily seen when they wear bright-colored clothing.

Riding at night can be dangerous. If your child has to ride at night, you or a responsible adult should ride along. Put a white light on the front of the bicycle and a red reflector on the back. This will make it much easier for drivers to see your child’s bicycle at night.

Bicycle Safety Check
Your children should always make sure their bicycles are ready to go. Before every ride, they should check the:

Tire Air Pressure – Always make sure there is proper air in the tires
Brake Test – Make sure the brakes work properly and are tight
Chain Maintenance – Make sure the chain is tight and working properly

Be Street Smart.
Remind your child that a bicycle is a vehicle, not a toy. Your child should ride with both hands on the handlebars at all times, and with only one rider per seat. Kids need to use their eyes and ears to stay alert, so they should never use headphones or cell phones while riding. Your child should ride on a sidewalk when one is available, or ride in the same direction of traffic if there is no sidewalk.

Ride with young children who aren’t familiar with the rules of the road and remind them to be careful around driveways and parked cars. Just like with walking, the safest place for young bicyclists to cross the street is a corner or intersection. Your child should get off the bicycle, look left right left, and walk the bicycle across the street when no traffic is coming.

The City of Toronto has a number of ongoing safety campaigns to encourage awareness of cycling safety issues. The City also has the CAN-Bike Program, which offers courses to learn how to ride, or improve your cycling skills to ride more safely.

1. Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

2. Do not talk on the phone or text while driving.

3. Pedestrians in dark clothing become more difficult to see this time of year.

4. Be extra cautious in the evening and during wet weather conditions.

5. Cross the street at traffic signals, intersections and crosswalks.

6. Look both ways and wait for vehicles to stop before crossing.

7. Remain aware of traffic until you finish crossing.

8. If you are wearing dark clothes, be aware that drivers will have a harder time seeing you.

9. If brighter clothing is an option, please consider.

10. Do not talk on the phone or text while crossing.

11. Use front and back-lights while riding.

12. Consider clothing and cycling accessories with reflective materials.

13. Do not talk on the phone or text while riding.

If you follow these safety tips, it can reduce a chance of an accident.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident or a pedestrian accident call Cariati Law, the Toronto Personal Injury Law Firm. They’re experienced lawyers and you can call them for a free confidential consultation at 905-629-8040. An experienced lawyer will review your situation at no cost to you. We represent victims and their families in serious injury and wrongful death cases.

Cariati Law, Passion Behind Every Case.