Children depend on their parents for guidance and protection. As parents, it is crucial that we provide our children with a safe environment in which they can grow and play. This can be done by child-proofing our homes, placing our children in a proper booster seat, or teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street. When it comes to playtime, parents need to teach their children how to exercise and be active in a safe manner. Children are anxious to learn to ride their bikes so they can play with their friends and enjoy their evenings after school. It is the parents' responsibly to research proper safety guidelines to teach their children before allowing them to ride on their own. Here are four safety measures that will help keep your child safe.
1.) DO NOT PURCHASE A BICYCLE FOR YOUR CHILD TO GROW INTO. The rate at which kids grow can be a bit restraining on their parents' budget as their children quickly grow out of their shoes and clothes. It is tempting to buy a larger bicycle for your child to grow into in an effort to save money. However, kids have less control over bikes that are too big for them. They are more likely to wobble and swerve, which can lead to a potential crash. Your children should have bikes that fit them, even if that means you will have to purchase a large bike down the road. A basic rule for the right size bike is to find one that your child is able to stand over with both feet flat on the ground.
2.) DO NOT LET YOUR CHILD RIDE AT NIGHT. Bicycling is far more dangerous during the night for several reasons. First, it is more difficult for motorists to see bicyclists in the dark. Drivers are also more likely to drive faster at night when there is less traffic, limiting their reaction time. Furthermore, the prevalence of drunk drivers increases during the evening. For these reasons, it is important that you do not let your child ride their bicycles after nightfall until they are more experienced cyclists.
3.) RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS STILL POSE RISKS. Many parents fall into the trap of thinking their children are completely safe if they are cycling in residential neighborhoods. However, this complacency can lead to disaster. Yes, residential neighborhoods are safer than busy commuter streets, but they do still pose a serious threat your child. Cars traveling at 25 mph through residential streets can still cause serious injuries to bicyclists in an accident. Be sure to teach your children to obey all traffic laws and to be on guard no matter how busy or quiet the street may be.
4.) RIDE WITH THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC. Many children may question this rule, assuming it is safer to ride facing the traffic, as they feel safer being able to see oncoming traffic. However, this is highly dangerous and accounts for 25% of all bicycle accidents. Motorists are not expecting bicyclists to ride against the flow of traffic and are less aware of bicyclists in that situation. In addition, most motorists do not look for oncoming traffic at intersections, creating a dangerous situation if the cyclist is riding against the flow of traffic. Teach your children to always ride on the right-hand side of the road.
Kenneth L. Christensen founded The Christensen Law Firm, PLLC, a personal injury law firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. He specializes in bicycle accidents, car accident, dog bites, and serious injury cases. Learn more about Mr. Christensen at http://www.utahpersonalinjurylawfirm.com/about.html To request a free book on Utah bicycle safety and accidents, visit http://www.utahaccidentbooks.com
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