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A Parent’s Guide to Bike Safety

March 15, 2017

From the Spring 2017 issue of AtlanticView Kids:

Springtime is here, and the warmer weather is perfect for a bike ride. But before you and your family head outside, do not forget the age-old adage: safety first.

“Wearing a helmet can save your life,” says K.J. Feury, RN, APNc, injury prevention coordinator for Safe Kids Northern New Jersey. “It’s the most important piece of equipment when you’re riding a bike.”

By law, anyone under the age of 17 in New Jersey must wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet when riding a bike. A helmet can help protect children and adults alike from head injuries.

The Perfect FIT

When buying a helmet, Feury recommends performing a helmet fit test, which includes the following:

  • Eyes: when you look up, you should see the bottom rim of the helmet.
  • Ears: make sure the straps form a “V” under your ears when buckled.
  • Mouth: the helmet should hug your head when you open your mouth.

Safe Passage

Using a helmet is not the only precaution parents should take, notes Feury. Other ways that parents can keep their kids safe include wearing bright clothing and avoiding nighttime riding.

“If you do decide to ride at night, the bike should be equipped with a rear reflector and a front light so drivers can see you,” says Feury.

And although biking accidents are often associated with busy intersections, they can happen anywhere. Feury stresses the importance of always being aware of your surroundings.

“Teach your child to stay alert,” she says. “Not only do they need to look out for cars and trucks, but they also need to watch out for obstacles in the road.”

Leading by Example

According to Feury, there’s one safety tip that parents often overlook: being a good role model. Your child is watching you – and if you do not adhere to the rules of the road or wear a helmet, odds are they will not either.

“You need to be an example to your child,” says Feury. “If you wear a helmet, obey traffic laws and exercise caution on the road – they will, too.”