Bike riding for kids is a fulfilling yet danger-laden activity. On one hand, it is a crucial growth stage yet potentially dangerous, especially if your kid is the ever-exploring and hyper type.
So, how do you balance these two seemingly contradicting ends? Here is a curated guide detailing the top 20 bike safety tips for kids.
Safety Tips for Kids' Bikes
These safety tips relate to the bike itself and include:
1. Check and Tighten Loose Bolts and Nuts
View a bike as an assembly of many parts, each joined by bolts and nuts. With each loose nut and bolt, the bike becomes unstable and wobbles more, meaning your child has less control. This increases accident chances and the risk of injury.
But if checked and tightened, it enhances a bike’s performance, such as brakes, handlebars, and seats.
2. Check the Bike Lights and Reflectors
Bike lights and reflectors are an important aspect of kid bike safety, this is especially true if they are teens or if you will bike in the evenings and when visibility is low due to bad weather.
The lights improve road visibility, while reflectors enable other road users to see you and the kids. However, it’s not recommended to allow younger kids to go biking in the evenings alone. But if it’s a must, always accompany them.
Furthermore, if the bike’s lights and reflectors are good and the kid wears reflectors, their safety is enhanced all the more.
3. Check the Bike Chain
A chain check is a must-do for every kid’s bike if you’re to ensure their safety. Some things to look out for include the lubrication and stiff links. A properly lubricated chain minus the stiff links reduces chances of jamming and slipping making biking easier safer.
However, don’t overlubricate as this can affect the drivetrain’s longevity. A simple way to check is to pedal backward, and use a cloth to wipe off any grime.
4. Ensure the Bike is the Right Size
One of the bike safety tips for kids is getting the right-sized bike. This ensures a kid is comfortable and in control of the bike. The best way to get the right size is by looking if they can reach the pedals and brakes easily, without straining too much.
However, calculating a kid’s height allows you to determine and choose the best bike size easily. Additionally, with the right size, a kid will pedal easily and have the right posture, which is essential for safety enhancement.
5. Check Brakes are Working Perfectly
The brake system is a crucial safeguard against accidents; thus, it should be checked before allowing your kid out. Properly functioning brakes means better chances of stopping and slowing down, significantly reducing the likelihood of accidents.
On the other hand, your kid won’t be able to stop with faulty brakes. This may mean improvising brakes using their feet, which increases the likelihood of accidents.
6. Check Tire Pressure
Your kid’s bike tire pressure is a must-check if you want to ensure their safety. An overinflated tire will make the ride bumpy and uncomfortable, while an underinflated one reduces the bike’s performance.
Both overinflated and underinflated tires cause your kid to have less control of the bike, thus putting their life in danger.
Bike Safety Tips For Kids: What To Wear and Bring for The Trip?
7. GPS Tracker or Smartwatch
Kids can easily wander away when biking. And while you do not want to curtail their freedom, you should balance it with keeping them safe. One way to do this is by giving them a smartwatch or fitting their bike with a GPS tracker.
With either of these, you can easily trace them, especially in crowded parks, reducing the stress of keeping up with them. Nevertheless, you should never allow them to go far beyond an area you consider a safe zone.
8. Cycling Gloves
Mountain riding can be bumpy and cause your child to easily lose grip and crash, resulting in injuries and bike damage.
To prevent this and help your child have a proper grip, have them wear cycling gloves. The gloves also reduce injuries as they prevent chaffing when kids fall. For the best protection, go for full-finger gloves.
9. Warm Clothes
When biking far away from home, the weather may suddenly change, affecting your kid’s concentration. It is recommended to pack some warm clothes, especially if you anticipate cold weather.
This way, your kid can wear them, enhancing their comfort and overall safety.
10. Wear Safety Goggles
Eyes play an important role when biking and must be protected. When riding in dusty areas, debris or sometimes small flies can get into the eyes, cause irritation and inhibit visibility.
This can likely cause accidents, but wearing safety goggles prevents such scenarios.
11. Have an Appropriate Helmet
Kid helmets are often ignored but are significant safety-enhancing equipment. A kid wearing a helmet is protected from severe head injuries in accidents. On the other hand, a kid without protective gear is more prone to injuries as their body isn’t protected.
Whether on a busy highway or bike trails, your child should always wear protective clothing. This way, you are assured of protection, even in case of claiming compensation from an insurer.
12. Carry Food and Water
Kids can sometimes be heavy eaters, especially after strenuous activities. As such, always carry enough high-energy snacks and fluids.
With every bite and sip, the kid will regain lost energy and be in better shape to control the bike, unlike a hungry child. Otherwise, if thirsty and hungry most children can be uncontrollable, which is risky if on top of a bike.
Bike Safety Tips For Kids on the Road
These tips are probably the most important because they are where the riding takes place and must be implemented immediately. Some of the most important ones are:
13. Let them Use Hand Signals
No matter a kid’s age, you should teach them proper hand signals. These are life-saving since they indicate when exiting, changing lanes, or making an impactful decision affecting other road users.
Unlike vehicles or motorcycles with auto indicators, a biker must use hand signals. Thus, your kid must know and use different hand signals on the road.
14. Ride on Sidewalks
Many roads have shoulders specifically designed for biking. This is a safe space for any cyclist as it is partitioned from the main road.
If the sidewalk is available, encourage your child to ride on it. This keeps them away from car collisions and even busy road parts, which may trouble them in decision-making.
15. Let the Kid Stay Alert
A kid can easily lose focus on the road and endanger their life. Also, the traffic can frighten them, affecting their rational thinking, so teaching them to stay alert while biking is critical.
This means telling them to be aware of their surroundings, such as pedestrians, bikers and vehicles. And even if not biking on roads, a kid should be taught how to take appropriate measures and note descents or corners.
16. Use Lights and Reflectors
Many accidents occur due to poor visibility. And to prevent your kid from being a victim, you should have them use enough lights and reflectors. These two help kids see better and become visible to other road users.
Always have them wear well-fitting reflectors and fit the bike with lights too. Additionally, wear reflectors if you’re training them in relatively busy areas. This way, you will be visible to others, especially drivers behind you.
17. Accompany Kids on Busy Streets and Areas
Even though your kid may be thrilled by the biking experience, you should never let them go alone in busy road sections.
One advantage of accompanying a kid is that you remind them of the dos and don’ts. This greatly enhances safety as kids can sometimes quickly forget and endanger their lives. Furthermore, a kid will be confident if they see you around and thus can make better decisions, unlike when alone.
18. Use Bike Bells
Bike bells are crucial for enhancing kid bike safety. Kids can use them to notify other road users, thus avoiding collisions. However, you should teach them how to use the bells because they may fail to serve their purpose if misused.
The best way is to teach them the recommended distance of when to use them. This will prevent startling other road users, especially when too close to them.
19. Avoid Over Speeding
Overspeeding is a major contributor to bike accidents. And occasionally, your kid will want to test their bike’s power, resilience, and speed, thus putting themselves in harm’s way.
However, this should not be allowed, more so in busy areas and if the kid has not properly mastered biking. This is so because the kid will have trouble braking or controlling the bike, increasing the chances of crashing.
20. Maintain Eye Contact with Drivers
If you want your kid to be safe, teach them to maintain eye contact with drivers and other road users. Despite seeming a tall order, it can be practiced and perfected over time and keep your kid safe.
In most cases, some drivers may be distracted and not see the kid’s hand signal. Therefore, having eye contact is an extra safety measure that ensures other road users know your intentions.
I hope you are now knowledgeable after reading these 20 bike safety tips for kids. You can let your child enjoy biking safely, regardless of age or trail type. The crucial aspect of kid bike safety is continued teaching and watching them implement the tips.
You may also want to check out: 20 Bike Safety Tips for Adults.