Keeping Children Safe with Smart Cycling Tips
Cycling is one of the most enjoyable activities for parents and children alike, whether a ride falls into the leisure category or participation for sport. When parents are bike enthusiasts, it is common for their children to want to take part as early as they are able. However, teaching a child to ride a bike is not always a simple task, and it comes with a slew of safety concerns along the way. Giving your child the freedom to hit the road on two wheels alone requires some forethought and education regarding these safety concerns to ensure cycling remains a satisfying experience.
In a recent research study, the safety woes of cycling were highlighted, thanks in part to an expert in cycle claims. The detailed research shows that among both adults and children, nearly one-third of cyclists have experienced an accident that resulted in a mild to severe injury over the last five years. Similarly, most cyclists who fell into this category shared that the experience was traumatising, long after the accident took place. The research also brought to light the fact that many cycling accidents involve a motor vehicle on the road. With these occurrences, injuries can be far more severe given that cyclists have no protection like motor vehicle users do. With these real risks facing cyclists of all ages, it is essential for parents to take the steps necessary to teach their children about cycling safety from the start. Below are a few helpful tips for starting a child out on their cycling life, with safety at the forefront.
Choosing the Correct Bike
One of the first steps in ensuring a child is safe as a cyclist on the road is to purchase the right bike. It is common for parents to consider purchasing a bicycle that a child will ultimately "grow into" but the reality is that often sets children up for a more difficult time in learning how to ride safely. Most experts agree that starting a child with a smaller bicycle that has adjustable handlebars and a seat is the best strategy. The bicycle should be adjusted so that the balls of the child's feet touch the ground and handlebars should be easy to reach while riding. So long as the bike allows for comfortable pedaling and ample room between the knees and handlebars, the child should have an easy time learning to ride safely.
In addition to purchasing the right-sized bicycle at the start, parents also need to be diligent about bike maintenance. Many assume that bicycles do not need ongoing cleaning, adjusting, or other sprucing up because they do not get as much wear and tear as other, larger vehicles. The truth is bicycles need to be maintained after each ride to ensure the child remains safe. Start with a simple cleaning, removing dust and dirt particles from the brakes and spokes, and follow up with a quick greasing of the brakes after every few rides. This allows children to freely maneuver their bicycle, particularly when they need to make a quick correction to avoid an accident. Additionally, parents should take the time to re-inflate tires after every ride, and ensure the bicycle frame is sturdy before sending a child out to ride.
Preventing injuries from accidents with pedestrians, other cyclists, and vehicles on the road is possible when a child has the right safety gear on during each ride. Wearing bright colors is helpful so that other road users can see cyclists clearly, even in less than ideal weather. Children should always wear a helmet when riding, even for short distances, as well as protective eye gear. Sunglasses are the go-to choice for most children, but yellow-tinted or clear glasses may also be beneficial on days when the sun isn't shining.
Rules of the Road
Finally, all parents should teach their children about the rules of the road as a way to avoid preventable accidents. Cyclists need to stay in dedicated bike lanes and paths, as well as steer clear of congested areas when riding. Knowing the various rules for different areas of the road is also necessary for keeping children safe when they cycle. Parents can share these invaluable insights with their children from the time they start riding to ensure they remain safe as a cyclist.
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