Bike riding can be a fun activity for children, but if they don't know how to ride safely it can also be a very dangerous one. In 2002, almost 300,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms after bicycle accidents. Often, these accidents are preventable. There were 630 cyclist fatalities in the US in 2009.
You can protect your children by teaching them the following rules:
Always wear a helmet and make sure it's fastened. Helmets can reduce head injuries by up to 85 percent and in many states it's illegal for children not to wear them.
Wear bright clothing. Bright and light colored clothing makes riders more noticeable. If children are allowed to bike ride after dark, make sure they have reflectors on their bike, helmet, and clothing.
Ride in safe places, such as in parks, on bike trails, and on roads with little traffic.
Obey the rules of the road. Bikers must stop at all stop signs and red lights, use hand signals when turning, and ride only on the right hand side of the road, with traffic. To practice using road signs, check out these.
Look both ways before crossing an intersection. Seven out of 10 bike crashes happen at driveways and intersections.
Whenever possible cross the road at crosswalks. That's where drivers expect to see bicyclists and pedestrians crossing intersections.
Remember, always walk bikes across crosswalks.
Give bikes regular tune ups. It's just as important for a bike to be well maintained as a car.
Lock up or keep bikes in a safe place. To help police return a bike if it is stolen and recovered, record the serial number and take a picture of the bicycle for their use. Many local police departments have free bike registration days and other bike registration programs.
Ride with a friend. It's more fun and safer because help is there if needed.
If children know these, they are on their way to safe riding. These tips are great for rollerblading and skateboarding too!