Roll into Safety!

601px-Bicycle_Route_sign-1

May is National Bicycle Safety Month and Lexlee’s Kids would like you to roll into safety.  The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and it’s a beautiful day to take a ride! Bike riding can be a fun and healthy way to spin your wheels, but make sure the kids are ready to roll the right way!

Check 1, 2, 3:  Before the little ones roll out make sure their wheels are in good working condition.  Check breaks and tires regularly.  Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself.  If you can keep bikes indoors, especially on rainy days, this will help to keep the chain rust free.

Hooray for Helmets:  A helmet should sit level and firmly, but comfortably, on your head and not be tilted forward, backward, or sideways.  The wide straps that form a “Y” go under the ear and fasten snugly under the chin.  Learning or a pro, a helmet should be worn.  Even if a child is on training wheels and not moving very quickly, they can still take a spill and hit their head.  A child learning to ride without training wheels WILL fall, so be prepared with a helmet. 

Use your Head:  While broken bones heal, a head injury can lead to serious injury or death.  By law, children under the age of twelve are required to wear a helmet when riding a bike, but there is no age limit on a head injury.  Everyone should wear a helmet when participating in wheeled activities.

Gear Up and Go:   You don’t have to wear special clothing to enjoy bicycling, but the right clothing can increase your safety and comfort.  Bright and comfortable gear may help your little biker get to the finish line safely.  Closed toe shoes, knee pads and elbow pads may also help increase safety.  

One for the Road:  Your bike is a one-passenger vehicle, unless you have multiple seats for additional riders.

Along for the Ride:  Some children may be too young to withstand the shakes and bumps that may be encountered along the ride, while in a bike trailer or seat (under the age of one or the age stated in the manufacturer’s instructions.)  Visit http://bit.ly/inr4sF and http://on.fb.me/mwdAHE to read bike trailer vs. bike seat articles.

Eye See You:  Because of its low profile, a bicycle trailer, which attaches to the rear axle or frame of a bike and can usually transport one child age 1 to 6 or so, it can be difficult for motorists to see, especially in limited light. (If you go this route, get a 31/2 -foot- to 7-foot-tall, high-visibility orange flag for it.) Trailers are also wider than the bike, so they take up more of the roadway.

Share the Road:  Louisiana drivers are required to share the road with bicyclists, giving at least 3 feet on all sides, but remember to practice defensive bicycling while you are riding, follow all traffic laws. Keeping trailers to neighborhood streets may be safer if you will be utilizing one.  DO NOT let kids ride their bike in the street.

Signal it:  Let motorists and pedestrians know what you plan to do.  Using your left hand, you can signal when you are making a right turn, left turn and stopping.  Do not ride your bike across the street, walk your bike across the street.  Make sure drivers can see you before crossing the street.  Assume that other drivers do not see you until you are sure they do.  Eye contact is important.  Look left, right and left again before crossing.

Do you and your tiny tot have plans to enjoy the beautiful outdoors on wheels?  How will you add safety to your road map? Join hands with Lexlee’s Kids in caring for your kid’s safety. If you have any questions or comments aout child safety feel free to post them here or contact Lexlee’s Kids at 225-761-7272 or www.lexleeskids.org.