Neighborhood kids love to play together, and what’s better than a fun bike ride? Next time your child is invited to go ride bikes, be sure he grabs his helmet on the way out the door. Although bicycle helmets are […]
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Let’s Go Ride a Bike!

by Jill Taylor on August 8, 2014

in Safety

bikeNeighborhood kids love to play together, and what’s better than a fun bike ride? Next time your child is invited to go ride bikes, be sure he grabs his helmet on the way out the door.

Although bicycle helmets are not required by Texas law, it’s risky to ride without one. In fact, if your child is riding anything with wheels, see that they wear a helmet.

“More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in the emergency room for injuries related to biking than any other sport,” says Susan Burchfield, Safe Kids Mid-Texas coalition coordinator.

“Do I Have to Wear a Helmet?”

Some kids may feel wearing a helmet is inconvenient, cumbersome or embarrassing. Spend some time teaching your child about why it’s important to wear a helmet, and they’ll be a little more understanding.

“Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent, yet only 45 percent of children under the age of 14 usually wear a bike helmet,” says Burchfield.

Consider telling your kids about Noah Howard, who speaks out about helmet safety after his traumatic head injury when he was 10. Check out this video and see why he’s now making sure his friends wear a helmet, too.

“A brain injury can mean that a child and family will face barriers for years to come,” says Burchfield.

“No One Else is Wearing One!”

Children learn by what they see. Parents, friends and other adults need to model safe behaviors by wearing a helmet.

“Everyone on wheels – bikes, skateboards, scooters – needs to protect the head,”

“Everyone on wheels – bikes, skateboards, scooters – needs to protect the head,” says Burchfield.

Also make sure you and your children are using the correct type of helmet for each sport and that it fits correctly. You can buy a helmet almost anywhere. Stores sell all types of helmets—many that have favorite characters, fun designs and even fake mohawks or funky features.

“Anything Else Before I Go?!”

While we’re talking bike safety, remember to also get a bike the right size for your child.

Burchfield says your feet should touch the ground when you are seated on the bicycle seat and the bike needs to be in good working order – equipped with brakes, tires and reflectors.

“When available, always use sidewalks and trails and avoid riding in the street,” adds Burchfield. “If they must ride in the street, tell your kids to ride with traffic.”

Keeping up with car traffic can be dangerous. Here are some tips:

  • Stay as far to the right as possible
  • Follow all signs and rules just like vehicles
  • Make sure drivers see you
  • Stay out of blind spots
  • Yield to traffic
  • Walk bikes across streets at intersections
  • Carrying passengers is never a good idea

“Actively supervise children until you’re comfortable that they are responsible enough to ride on their own,” says Burchfield. “They should be able to demonstrate riding competence and knowledge of the rules of the road before cycling with traffic.”

Click here for more information on injury prevention.

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