Biking is fun, healthy, and a great way to get around and be independent. But your bike is a vehicle, not a toy. Some bike crashes can cause serious injuries and most are related to the behavior of you (the bicyclist) or the motorist. There are a number of things you can teach your children to prevent a crash, and protect your brain if a crash occurs.
Remind your rider to:
- Always wear a Bike Helmet. Helmets protect your brain, and can save your life.
- Make sure the bike fits the rider. When standing over your bike, there should be 1 to 2 inches between the rider and the top tube (bar) if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if using a mountain bicycle. The seat should be level front to back, and the height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be at the same level with the seat.
- Check Your Bike. Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that the brakes work.
- See and Be Seen. Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, foul weather, or at night, make yourself visible. Wear neon, fluorescent or other bright colors when riding, to make yourselves the most visible to others. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights. Remember, just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see you.
- TWO HANDS! Ride with two hands on the handlebars unless signaling a turn. Place books and other items in a bike carrier or backpack.
- Watch for and Avoid Road Hazards. Look for hazards that may make you crash, such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs.
- Use Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication. This includes eye contact with drivers, turn signals, pointing to road hazards for bicyclists behind you, and stating “passing on your left,” or “on your left.”
- Avoid Riding at Night. It’s harder for other road users to see bicyclists at dusk, dawn or nighttime. Use reflectors on the front and rear of the bike. White lights and red rear reflectors or lights are required by law in all States.