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Biking Safety for Kids

by Joe Lawrence | August 24th, 2016 | Elementary, Safety

7-8-year-old-checking-tires-on-a-child-bike“Stack up one more box, I know I can jump higher than you!” This is something I remember saying often behind the plaza where we used to ride our bikes at as a child. Safety was the last thing on our minds as we had our own version of the X Games seeing who could launch themselves the highest on a make-shift ramp. Times have changed.

Back when I was in elementary school, no one wore helmets. In hindsight, I don’t know if they even made them for children. We understood the dangers and actually practiced crashing our bikes in a field so we know what to do if we missed our landing. I wish I could go back and time and watch as we studied stuntmen in movies and replicated their falls in the grass. Although, I am shocked we didn’t get seriously injured doing this, it did pay off on many occasions.

If you are not the type of parent who wants to purposely make your child crash to learn how to fall smarter, there are some simple things you can do. First of all, buy your kid a helmet. There is no social pressure on them not to wear one and who cares if there was. A simple fall could really hurt your child’s future.

Secondly, teach them some basic pre-ride inspection items. My daughter squeezes her tires to ensure there is enough pressure in them. I also taught her make to sure the bolts on the tire’s axles were not too loose. I lost a wheel a couple of times while riding (probably because of all the jumping and tricks) and started a pre-ride inspection of these. She finishes this inspection by checking to ensure her brakes work before leaving the garage.

The last portion of safety advice I like to give others is to ride with them and guide them while they are still open to suggestion. When we go on a bike ride together, I talk to her about stopping short of a corner to check for traffic. I tell her how to navigate the inclines going from the road to the sidewalks. For example, most kids want to stop pedaling as they go up a hill because they are scared; however, going too slow causes you to lose your balance even more. Basically, I teach her to look ahead and plan for the obstacles in her path before she gets there.

Memories of my childhood are filled with thoughts of me on my bike. Most of them are very good, and I hope my daughter and your child’s are too. Keep safety on your mind and teach them to do the same, and their memories will be very positive, too!

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