Bike safety has been number one on my list of priorities now that we have recently moved to the suburbs and my kids actually have sidewalks and safe places to ride their bike. I used to stick with the basics; helmets and supervision, but now that the kids are riding their bikes regularly, I notice week points in my strategy.
Let me first say, that I am not a hover mom. Most moms might consider me to be a little too hands off. But from my military days, I am all about ORM or Operational Risk Management; measured risks per potential gain. Consider your child’s experience level and how they ride and utilize their bike when making an informed decision. Are you always near or do they ride long distances away from you? Do they ride anywhere near roads and traffic? The less experience or the more risk – add layers of safety protection.
I am not always about the helmet to be honest. Living in the city, I was always so close to him that the helmet did not matter as much because I could reach out and grab him quickly. We road on smooth concrete that was flat. In the suburbs, I am all about the helmet if for no other reason than he can get away from me fast on the sidewalk and at anytime his bike may head off the sidewalk or down a driveway losing balance and flipping over. So we are helmet people now. My son who Loves TMNT rocks a Donatello Helmet I found on Amazon 🙂
Elbow and Knee Pads
If you have a new rider or an older kid doing tricks on their bike, do not forget about knees and elbows. For the casual ride with an intermediate or skilled rider, I don’t see these being a big deal for standard and casual rides. If you start talking about speed racing and pushing your bike to the limits, ramps, jumps, curbs; do us all a favor and protect your joints. Their knees will thank you in 40 years. We purchased a knee and elbow set that included fingerless gloves that has worked wonderfully and that my son enjoys using. The gloves help tremendously with even the smallest falls. Short story, I once busted my eyelid falling off my bike that needed 7 stitches. At the time, my skid marked hands hurt worse!
This is a key point I never considered in the city. Riding around uptown Dallas, we never road past dark or even at twilight. In the burbs, the kids stay out much later playing and riding along the front of the houses with creates a lighting issue. First, turn your lights on the front of your home and discuss with your neighbors about doing the same for the first hour or two past nightfall. Second, consider adding a red rear light and reflectors to your child’s bike so that cars and other people can see them coming and going. I used an easy to install USB charged light on the back and a solid shining white light on the front similar to car headlights so my son could see where he is going.
The red rear tail light was sent to me by the supplier to review. Whoa, works way better than I intended! Very clear red light with multiple settings from constantly on to blinking. Easily attached to my son’s bike making him more visible as the neighborhood lights go out. Intuitive to use and requires zero batteries, just charges using a basic USB pluggin device or right off your computer.
About once a week or two, check the bike over paying attention to friction and loose pieces. Add a quick spray of WD-40 around the chain and stinking points. Tighten up loose bolts and gears. Inflate flat tires to recommended levels that are typically written or molded into the side of the tire.
One commonly missed, easy to implement, safety issue is clothing. Skirts, dresses, and loose fitting clothing can easily get caught in the bike chains. I know this personally having done it several times as a child riding my bike in a dress. Almost everytime I fell if the fabric reached the chain. Jeans and cords are best to wear as they will offer some protection from skinned knees and cuts if your child falls where as skirts and shorts leave your childs skin exposed in the event of a fall.
In all things safety: please consider your child’s experience level and how they ride and utilize their bike when making an informed decision. Only you know your child and can properly understand the safety measures that are needed to make informed decisions based on skill and usage versus what they will actually use properly and keep on when you are not looking.
This post was sponsored by the red light above. All opinions are 100% my own. The post include affiliate links to items that I myself have used, purchased and would buy again.