Attention teen parents! We know your buttons have already been pressed for the millionth time this week. But when it comes to your child’s safety, you can’t be too careful. Kids generally learn to ride bikes early on, but as they transition into teenagers, they begin to attempt riding longer distances.
This is where safety concerns make an appearance. Even the most responsible children need your guidance about their safety when they take off with their bikes. As a parent, it’s up to you to explain the bike safety rules to them repeatedly.
Firstly, make sure you are not going through the tips all at once, but focus on one at a time. Remember, teenagers can be rebellious and have the superpower of smelling “advice” from miles away.
The first thing on our list is bike helmets. They safeguard you from minor and major head injuries, even fatalities. To ensure your kid’s safety on their bikes, walk them through the necessity of wearing a bike helmet every time they ride.
Get them into the habit of following a particular bike routine. Put up visual signs in front of where the bikes are parked at home. So whenever they plan on taking their bikes out, their eyes cross the safety placards, and they will at least have it in mind.
Your teen’s helmet should meet the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Right now would be a good time to check if they have the label or not. Another safety point to tick off your list is to make sure that the helmet fits your child properly.
Now let’s discuss the standard rules of how should a bike helmet fit your child. The main idea is to have the helmet on top of the head securely. It should not be tilted toward the hairline or backward. If your child has already had a crash, you should replace it.
To encourage your kids to actually wear it, let them pick a helmet design/style that they like. You’ll notice it will help them pay more attention to this safety tip.
By hardware, we mean the bike and its function. It’s essential to make sure it’s the right size for your child. Remember, teenagers sometimes grow at unbelievable rates, so monitoring their bike size upgrades can be a bit tricky for parents.
The ground rule is that your child should be able to sit on the bike seat while being able to reach the ground comfortably with both feet. You should also regularly check tire inflation, spokes, chain, and handlebar adjustments. If any of these seem inappropriate to you, you should take the bike to your nearest store for a quick tune-up.
Here’s a useful guide for you to make sure that your child’s bike is in optimum condition for them to ride safely.
- When they are sitting on the bike, they should be able to stretch out their legs fully to reach the pedals properly, even when they are sitting in the lowest position.
- If your teen is still growing, it’s ideal to get a bike that allows the handlebars and seat post to be raised accordingly to adjust to the new height.
Cycling safety remains a major concern, and brakes are one of the most important considerations when encouraging kids to go exploring in the outdoors. Pedal brakes may be a good option for teens who do not entirely have the ability to coordinate the use of handlebar brakes.
Road rules are super important for kids to know. Teach your children everything they need to know before venturing out on the roads. A good trick is to let them ride around the block for the first few weeks until they gain the confidence and abilities to ride on the streets with other road users.
This particular tip should be taken slowly. You cannot expect them to remember the use of traffic rules all at once. Start with basics first, such as lights, markings, stop signs, and the use of the right lanes. For best results, you should ride with them to be sure they are careful enough to ride on the streets.
How to dress when riding a bike ensures safety too.
- Fluorescent or brightly colored attire can make you more visible on the road. It’s safest to avoid wearing any dark clothes during evenings or gloomy day rides.
- Wear reflectable materials with reflective tapes.
- Your child should wear lightweight clothes to prevent becoming overheated during long summer rides.
- Your child should wear activewear pants, such as leggings, which are not flared or baggy.
- Most kids tend to carry a backpack while riding. Make sure you remind them to tie up the straps at all times, as they can easily get tangled in tire spokes.
When riding on roads, it’s an absolute necessity for children to be visible to motorists and other users. This means wearing a helmet, dressing in bright colors, and having a headlight and red rear taillight on their bike.
If they are not confident riders, which is understandable for their age, you should ask them to slow down and shift to the farthest lane. If required, they can also pull over until the speeding vehicle passes them. It’s important to be comfortable and confident when riding. The last thing you want your child to do is panic.
Minor accidents can happen sometimes. It’s important to talk to your child about how to handle these occurrences. Teach them about first aid. Also, remind them to always carry a water bottle with them on the roads. When riding, they need to carefully watch out for fences, potholes, rocks, pedestrians, bushes, and other vehicles approaching them.
This particular tip is applicable to children of all ages and is not just limited to bike safety. Overall, when your child is outside the house playing, riding a bike, or having a fun time with neighbors in the neighborhood park, you should have a set of rules for them.
For bikes specifically, they should always be aware of how far they are allowed to go distance-wise and should return home before their check-in time. No matter where they ride, you should also only encourage daytime riding, as it is the safest for kids. And if they are crossing a busy street, ask them to walk their bikes across the streets. Set your own safety rules depending on your child’s age, and surrounding concerns.
When your child is about to leave for a ride, ask them to check the visual poster that you have hung in front of their bike parking spot. Number the safety rules with pictures. You could also have discussions about scenarios of traffic conditions and what happens when road rules are not followed. It may not seem like it, but the more you talk about it, the more they will absorb and implement it.
One general tip for outdoor activities, especially for kids, is to always make sure your child is carrying a hydration bottle and a little snack. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
Yes, riding bikes is a super fun activity for kids, and with this set of safety tips for your teens, you no longer have to hold them back from enjoying their teen years to the fullest.