Bicycle Safety

By Tammy McKillip May 20, 2014
Winter is over, and your kids are finally away from the screens and back on their bikes, where they belong. If your relief at having the house to yourself for an hour or two is tinged with just a tiny bit of disaster anxiety (and what mom doesn't experience just a tad of this each and every day?) don't worry. We've got the tips to help ensure your child stays safe while riding.

Bicycle Safety Tips

  • Wear a properly-fitted helmet! If you aren't sure how to properly fit you or your child's helmet, here's a great video by Schwinn:

Or, click on Bern's fit guide for information on sizing. Wearing an improperly fitted or incorrectly sized helmet can be dangerous, as can riding with no helmet, so make sure your child's helmet is snug, but not too tight.
  • Choose a bicycle that is the right size and has a properly adjusted seat. Ideally, there should be about two inches between the rider and the top of the tube bar when straddling the bike (3-4 inches on a mountain bike). You should be able to bend your knee slightly when your leg is fully extended, and your handlebars should align with your seat.
  • Inflate both tires on your bike before riding, check to see that the chain is intact, and test your brakes to make sure they are responsive.
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing when riding, and avoid riding your bike after dark, as it may be difficult for drivers to see you.
  • Choose smooth surfaces for optimal riding. Avoid bumpy roads with potholes, gravel, dirt, or broken glass.
  • Ride single-file when riding with friends, and stay to the side of the road, preferably in a clearly marked bike lane.
  • Hold your handlebars with both hands. Never attempt to ride without hands, as you may lose control of the bicycle if it hits a bump.
  • Carry loose items in a bicycle basket or carrier, rather than in your arms or a backpack.
  • Always ride in the same direction as the traffic. Do not ride against the flow of traffic.
  • Don't speed. Obey the same traffic rules as the cars on the road.
  • Yield to pedestrians.
  • Slow down when turning or crossing crosswalks, and always look both ways to ensure a safe crossing or turn.
  • Steer clear of parked cars. You never know when someone may open a door suddenly or decide to pull out of a spot.

For more bicycle safety tips, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.