As the warm weather finally arrives, Michigan kids are most likely ready to break out their own bikes and enjoy a Tour de Neighborhood. Before they pedal too far ahead, be sure to brush up on some general bike safety rules every family should follow.
- Strap on a helmet.
According to a recent national survey of parents, one in every five says their child doesn’t wear a helmet when biking. This fact could conjure images of hospital visits and serious injuries. So skip the worries and ensure that your child, regardless of age, has their correctly-fitted helmet fully strapped before pedaling off.
- Follow the rules of the road.
Always ensure that your children know the ins and outs of your community’s traffic. Make it a point to familiarize them with bike paths, crosswalks, and stop signs—along with times of the day where traffic could be heavier. Kids should never play in traffic, nor should they bike through it.
- Conduct a gear check.
As fun as biking can be, having a deflated tire can easily zap that fun away. These problems can be combatted with a simple bike checkup, making sure that its tires have air, brakes are properly functioning and handlebars don’t have any damages. A routine checkup at the start of each season ensures that a bike is ready to ride.
- Be bright, be seen.
Whether it’s daytime or nighttime, it’s important that your children are visible to others when biking. Bright-colored clothing and even mounted-on bike lights can keep kids both seen and safe to others out on the road.
- Find the right fit.
As kids grow, so do their bikes. To make sure your child is riding a bike that’s the correct size, have them sit straddling on the bike so that their feet touch the ground. If there appears to be a one to three-inch gap between your child and the top bar of the bike, then the fit is right.
If you’re in the Traverse City area, Norte runs a program called Estrellas that Priority Health is proud to sponsor. Norte’s mission is to help build stronger, better connected and more walk/bike friendly communities with projects, initiatives and programs. Estrellas organizes twice-weekly biking meet-ups built for families. Safety is a big focus for all of Norte’s programs with a “Safe Routes To School” initiative and a learn-to-ride program for preschool kids using balance bikes. Learn more about the Estrellas program and Norte here.
Don’t live in Northern Michigan? Check with your local Safe Kids Michigan coalition to find bike safety workshops and other kid-friendly biking resources in your area.
In any sort of activity, safety should always come first. These tips will surely make for healthy and happy pedaling for the whole family.