What better way to get exercise, be environmentally friendly, enjoy spring and bring the family together than a bike ride? Celebrate National Bike Month™ each May. Grab your wheels and hit the trails, but don’t forget to ride safely:
• Get the right bike. Make sure that your bike is the right size. This is especially important for kids. When sitting on a bike seat, for example, a child’s feet should touch the ground. Web sites for the National SAFE Kids Campaign (www.safekids.org) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org) offer bicycle safety tips, including tips on the size of the bike.
• Tune up. Make it a habit at the beginning of every season to check the safety of your family’s bikes. Wash them, check the tires, tighten any loose nuts and bolts. And having your local bike shop perform yearly maintenance is inexpensive and well worth it.
• Wear a helmet, and make sure your kids do too. Every helmet should have an ANSI or CPSC sticker on it, certifying that it passes federally approved safety inspections.
• Fit your helmet correctly. A bike helmet should sit low on the forehead, not pushed back. The sides of the helmet should sit closely above the ears, and chin straps should always be fastened! (More tips about choosing and using a bike helmet)
• Take a look. Teach your kids to look right, left and right again before crossing the street, and to be aware of other vehicles at all times. You may want to install a rearview mirror on the handlebars of an older child’s bike.
• Be seen. Making yourself visible on the streets is one of the best ways to avoid accidents. Attach reflectors to the front and sides of your family’s bikes. Wear bright colors or a reflective jogging vest when biking. Children, however, should not be bicycling at dusk or after dark.
• Act like a car. A bicycle should follow the same rules of the road as a car. For example, ride single-file in the direction that cars are going. Stop at lights or stop signs. Use hand signals to indicate that you are turning.
For more information on biking safely, check out the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control