Tips for Parents: How to Make Cycling Safe & Fun for Kids
Learning how to ride a bike is a childhood staple. It's an excellent way to travel and get some fresh air for kids.
However, this fun activity can also pose a significant risk. In one way or another, you'd need to ride alongside other road users, which is especially dangerous to kids. This is why you need to teach your kids the safest way of cycling.
What is the best age for cycling?
Children learn to ride a bike at an average age of 3 to 7 years old, although this is only an average. Some kids may be ready to begin developing their fundamental riding abilities sooner than others. Others may want to wait until a two-wheeler isn't so large and terrifying.
Regardless of how they were taught, every kid follows a similar route to learning riding. Here's a rundown of the developmental abilities and safety precautions your child will need to start pedaling and answers to some often asked concerns regarding children's bike safety.
What are the safety precautions you have to teach kids for cycling?
Use bike lights.
Bicyclist conduct is linked to many bicycle-related collisions that end in injury or death, including cycling onto a street without stopping, turning left or veering into oncoming traffic, running a stop sign, and riding the wrong way in traffic.
While kids might still find it hard to follow road rules, informing other motorists about the kids' presence on the road and their movements would significantly help in avoiding accidents. You can do this with an excellent pair of bike lights.
Aside from this, you can easily track the location of your kids with their bike lights. You can even get them a custom lighting pattern so you can easily see their location even when they're riding in the dark.
Use protective gears.
All riders–especially kids, should use bicycle helmets. Approximately 800 bikers are murdered in the United States every year, with another 500,000 in hospital emergency rooms. The head and face are involved in around 2/3 of the deaths and 1/3 of injuries. Bicyclists can lower their risk of brain injury by up to 85% by wearing a helmet.
Aside from helmets, it would also be best to equip your kids with elbow and knee pads if they fall on rough roads. You should also ensure that they're wearing proper rubber shoes that will not hinder them from pedaling correctly.
Find the perfect bike size for your kids.
The bike size can affect any rider's riding balance, maneuvering, and agility. These factors can make or break a kid's cycling safety, so you must ensure that your child rides a bike that is compatible with his body size.
The most straightforward technique to narrow down the bike size your child needs is by basing it on his height. The diameter of the wheels of children's bikes is used to "size" them.
The smallest pedal cycles have 12-inch wheels, while the largest bikes have 24-inch wheels. When your child is ready for a 26-inch bike, they are usually ready for an adult-sized ride. However, some bike companies create smaller "youth" size 26-inch cycles. On the other hand, balance bikes start with 10′′ wheels and go up to 12′′ or 14′′ wheels in most cases.
It's all about the brakes.
For adults, the essential mechanism for cycling is the gears, as they can determine the riding speed and agility. However, you have to look for an efficient braking system for your kids.
Coaster brakes are commonly found on four-year-old bikes (operated by pedaling backward). Because youngsters can mistakenly hit the brake when just trying to backpedal, these brakes provide less safety and control. This can lead to braking errors and dangerous situations.
Traditional front and rear two-hand brakes, on the other hand, provide superior control and shorter stopping distances but need expert control. Squeezing too tightly with one hand might result in an accident. Handlebar brakes made of poor materials are frequently too heavy for children's little hands to squeeze completely.
The perfect option for kids is a single-hand brake. It evenly distributes braking pressure between the front and back tires, allowing children to stop while avoiding collisions with the handlebars abruptly.
It would also be best if you introduced your kids to brake lights. According to researchers, brake lights can reduce the possibility of road collisions by up to 79% as it notifies other motorists of your movement. While you will not let your kids ride through major roads, this extra layer of protection is essential.
Don't deprive your kids of the fun that biking can give them. They will be safe on the road as long as they have your full supervision, the appropriate bike, and protective biking accessories.