Whether your kids ride bike to see friends or simply stroll around the neighborhood, you're probably just happy they're not staring at the television screen.
Yet, allowing this independence can be a little nerve-wracking from a safety standpoint. About 254,000 children are injured in bicycle-related accidents each year. These tips can help your child remain seen and safe.
1. Use a bright helmet
Telling your child to wear a helmet for safety reasons is a no-brainer. In fact, children under the age of 16 are required by law to use a helmet in the state of Florida.
But, the helmet can do more than protect against head injuries in an accident. It can also prevent them. Choosing a neon or otherwise brightly colored helmet is a great way to make sure drivers spot him or her.
2. Erect a sign
Especially for those who live on faster roads or near blind spots, placing a "children at play" sign may help alert drivers to be more cautious.
3. Prepare riders
This tip is better for younger, rudimentary riders. If your child isn't completely comfortable on his or her bike yet, they shouldn't ride on the streets until they're ready. A child who has trouble balancing, turning or stopping could easily fall and go unseen by an approaching car.
Don't let your child ride unsupervised until they're more comfortable maneuvering their bike.
4. Set boundaries
Once children can handle their bicycle easily, set rules in place about where your child should and should not venture. Consider how safe certain parts of the neighborhood are and advise against areas with more frequent vehicle traffic.
Areas with crosswalks or sidewalks may help increase your child's visibility to drivers.
5. Equip the bike with a light
Cars that keep their headlights on during the daytime can be seen easier. Bicycles are the same. Especially if you allow your child to ride their bicycle at night time, ensure that the bike had a headlight along with other reflective gear.
6. Review the right side of the road
There has been some controversy over whether it's safer to ride with traffic or against it. But, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), riding with traffic is most safe. That means riders should stay on the right side of the road.
Know what to do if something happens
For children and pre-teens, a bicycle offers independence, mobility and exhilaration like they've never had before. But, at this age it can still be hard to anticipate events before they happen.
If your child is involved in an accident, teach them what to do. Kids should memorize the license plate if a vehicle was involved and use a cellphone (if they have it) to call for help. If your child is hurt due to the negligence of another party, contact a lawyer to seek justice.