If you went out and about during the Christmas break, or even looked out your window, you probably saw a child riding a new bicycle he’d found beside the tree on Christmas morning.
That is often the start of a fun activity that’s also beneficial from a physical fitness standpoint. But bike riding comes with some dangers too.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of children find themselves in an emergency room after bike accidents. These mishaps are often preventable, too.
Here are five things you can do that will go a long way toward keeping your child safe as he’s out and about on his bike:
1. Always wear a helmet and make sure it’s fastened. Helmets can reduce head injuries by up to 85 percent and in many states it’s illegal for children not to wear them.
2. Wear bright clothing. Bright and light colored clothing makes riders more noticeable. If children are allowed to bike ride after dark, make sure they have reflectors on their bike, helmet, and clothing.
3. Ride in safe places, such as in parks, on bike trails, and on roads with little traffic.
4. Obey the rules of the road. Bikers must stop at all stop signs and red lights, use hand signals when turning, and ride only on the right hand side of the road, with traffic. To practice using road signs, check out these.
5. Look both ways before crossing an intersection. Seven out of 10 bike crashes happen at driveways and intersections.
And here’s a final crime prevention-related tip, lock up or keep all of your family’s bikes in a safe place. You can help us return a bike if it is stolen and recovered by recording the serial number and taking a picture of the bicycle.