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Bicycle Safety: What your child should know

Many children bike around during the summer months. You may rely on your child to get themselves from one place to another while you are at work. Whether they are biking to a friend’s house or a daytime activity, you want them to stay safe.

Here are some tips on how to keep your child safe while biking.

  • Always wear a helmet

The first step to any bike ride is to make sure your child wears a helmet. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to ride a bicycle without a helmet in California. Helmets protect your child’s head and face in the event of an accident. If your child falls or gets hit by a car, their helmet may save their life.

  • Have properly fitting and functioning gear

Make sure that your child’s helmet and bike fit them. If the helmet is too big it may not sufficiently protect your child from injury. If the bike does not properly fit your child, it may be more difficult for them to control. It is important that your child’s bike has working brakes, handlebars they can control and is well-functioning, to reduce the risk of accidents. Clothing or items that increase your child’s visibility may help keep them safe.

  • Watch for cars

Teach your child to always look both ways before they cross the street. Your child should also look for cars before biking across a driveway, alley or leaving the curb. They should ride on the sidewalk or in bike lanes whenever they can and avoid driving on the road. If they do ride on the road, they should stay as close to the side as they can.

  • Obey the rules

Bicyclists must ride with traffic and follow all road signs just as vehicles do. They should always cross the road at intersections or crosswalks to avoid accidents. Remind your child that they must wear a helmet at all times and let them know which roads they are not allowed to ride on. Make sure that your child is familiar with the area and does not ride after dark.

Even if your child does follow these safety tips, there is no guarantee they will be safe. Riding bike after dark greatly increases the safety hazard. Make sure that you know where your child will be biking in case of emergency and that they can get ahold of you should anything happen. Being transparent with your child about the risks associated with riding a bike may lessen the likelihood of an accident.

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