With the arrival of spring, many people bring out their bicycles for a ride. However, it is essential to be prepared for a safe biking season. According to the latest statistics, the national rate of bike accidents is two fatal crashes and 2,630 accidents requiring emergency room visits every week. Therefore, Angela Mountz, community car seat safety program coordinator at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital in Hershey, recommends some tips for parents to help their young cyclists avoid serious childhood riding accidents.
The first and most crucial tip is to wear a helmet. The odds of suffering a severe injury if involved in a crash while biking go up 40% if the rider is not wearing a helmet. Parents should also wear helmets to teach their children by example. Mountz suggests looking for a sticker from the American National Standards Institute or the Snell Memorial Foundation to make sure the helmet is certified. Parents should also check their children's helmets every two months to make sure they fit properly.
A helmet should fit snugly, not so tight that it cuts off the circulation, but it shouldn't move much. The rim of the helmet should be two finger widths above the eyebrows, and the chin strap should fit over the chin and be buckled while in use. The straps should form a V under the ears.
The next consideration is the bike itself. Make sure it fits properly, even if it's a hand-me-down. Check the bike's tires and brakes, and make sure there are no loose parts or a loose chain. If the bike is too big or in disrepair, consider replacing it instead of reusing it. While riding, it is essential to wear good shoes, such as sneakers, rather than flip flops, and to avoid loose-fitting clothing that can get caught in the bike chain.
GEAR UP!.. It's also okay to wear other protective gear, such as knee or elbow pads, as long as it doesn't make it harder to ride. Parents should talk to their older kids about the rules of the road. Motorists must allow 4 feet of distance when overtaking a bicycle, but bicyclists must follow traffic laws. They should signal if they're turning, stop at crosswalks, and yield to pedestrians. Cyclists must ride with traffic, not against it, as bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles.
Conclusion!.. Bicycling is an excellent way to commute, exercise, or have fun, and it's essential to be prepared before heading out. Riding a bike that fits you, making sure it works, and wearing protective gear such as a helmet, bright clothing, and reflective gear are crucial to decreasing the risk of accidents. Ride responsibly and follow traffic laws to help reduce deaths and injuries on our roads.