My daughter owned a bike helmet before she even owned a bike. Wearing a helmet is one of those things that I knew I wanted to reinforce as “this is just what we do” right from the beginning. It’s the same with wearing sun glasses and hats. Teaching kids healthy and safe habits early on is so important.
We love bike riding as a family. It’s great exercise and just an awesome way to spend some family time together. If we are staying close to home Molly rides her own bike and if we are going on longer trips she gets to ride in Weehoo trailer behind one of our bikes.
But no matter how short or long our rides are we all wear our helmets.
A properly fitted bike helmet can reduce the risk of a serious head injury by up to 80%. So wearing a helmet is just a no brainer. And that proper fit is essential. If your helmet is the wrong size or not secured properly it’s not going to protect the way it should. That’s wear the 2V1 rule comes into play – always check your helmet (yes every time you put it on yourself or your child) by ensuring that you cannot fit more than 2 fingers between your eyebrows and the bottom of the helmet when it’s sitting level on your head, the straps form a V shape under the years and you can only fit 1 finger between the strap and the chin.
Wearing a helmet is the easiest and most obvious way of preventing serious cycling injury but there are a few other things you can do to help keep you and your family safe when out on the road.
Check Your Ride
Make a habit of giving your bikes a good inspection on a regular basis. You want to keep an eye on your tires making sure they are properly inflated and not worn out, that your brakes are working properly and the seat and handles are at a comfortable height.
If you aren’t already familiar with the proper hand signals for cycling take the time to learn them and teach them to your kids.
Always pay attention to and obey traffic signs and teach your kids that they need to get off their bikes to use crosswalks.
Pick Your Route Ahead of Time
Whenever it’s possible try to preplan your route when biking with your kids. If your city is bike friendly with dedicated cycling routes take advantage of that! And even if you don’t have access to bike routes it’s worth taking the time to map out a route that you know is probably going to have less traffic and safer for your family.
Stay on the Right Side of the Road
Always, always, always ride your bike on the right side of the road going in the same direction as traffic. And teach your kids to always ride single file!
Be Seen and Heard
My daughter is not quite five so we don’t do any riding at night time yet but we still make a point of trying to make ourselves visible. Our bikes all have reflectors (and Molly’s bike has night bright white tires and sparkly streamers) and the Weehoo also has a bright orange flag for added visibility. We also make a point of wearing brighter clothes to make sure we stand out.
And of course no bike would be complete without out a bell! Bells are a great way of getting the attention of other cyclists and pedestrians to let them know you are close or would like to pass.
Safe Kids Week is May 4-10th. And you are invited to join Parachute Canada in a fun and informative Twitter Party to talk about bike safety for the whole family! Here’s the details:
When – May 6th at 7pm EST
Prizes – What’s a party without prizes?
- One $100 Tim Hortons Gift Cards
- One $200 Tim Hortons Gift Cards
- One $300 Tim Hortons Gift Cards
RSVP – Be sure to RSVP here!
I hope to see you there! In the mean time if you would like some more information on family cycling safety head on over to the Parachute Canada website for tons of information and resources!