Last updated on January 26th, 2023 at 04:04 pm
A child’s first bike is what a car is to new teen drivers; they give the rider their first taste of the freedom of operating a vehicle. Some parents leave bicycle lessons for their kids to older siblings or other kids who have more experience on a bike. While it’s okay to have your child learn from others, there are critical things about riding a bicycle that other children may not teach your child.
That’s why when your child gets their first bike, you should be actively engaged in teaching them bicycle safety and the basic rules of the road. It’s the best way to ensure they’ll develop good habits and stay safe.
Safety Lessons to Teach Your Child When They Get Their First Bike
When your child gets their first bike, their newfound freedom could mean that they’re out of your sight longer, and it’s impossible to know what they’re up to every minute, or if they’re staying safe.
Unfortunately, this freedom could actually cost a child’s life if they haven’t learned bike safety rules. The most recent car vs. bicycle accident statistics show that over 50,000 cyclists have died in road accidents since 1932, with children below the age of 15 among the dead.
The good news is that teaching your child a few bike riding safety rules can help ensure they don’t become part of the statistics.
Balancing Comes First
The first lesson when it comes to riding a bike is very basic — maintaining balance. First, be sure that the bike seat is set correctly for the child’s height. The proper height should allow your child to have both feet flat on the ground while seated on the saddle.
You could even consider detaching the pedals from the crank arm when teaching them balancing to ensure pedals don’t get in their way when learning. After learning balance, you can reattach the pedals and have them learn balancing while peddling.
Many people also opt to buy their children balance bikes before moving to pedal bikes as a way to help their child master balancing.
Checking the Bike for Any Problems
When riding a bike, it is always important to check it for any problems that could cause an accident. So before your child sets off on their first bike ride, check if the brakes are working properly, the tires have the right pressure, and make sure there is no apparent damage to the bike.
You may not be around to check your kid’s bike every time they want to ride it, so it’s a great idea to train them in these critical safety checks to ensure they don’t ride their bike if it’s showing any issues that could compromise their safety.
Using a Helmet
Whether your child is riding on your front sidewalk, a bike trail, or on the road, teach them to always wear a helmet. Helmets help protect a child’s brain if they get into an accident.
It doesn’t take much to cause a bike rider to lose their balance and crash, especially a younger and more inexperienced rider. That’s why you want to ensure that your child’s head is protected. Wearing a helmet becomes even more critical if your child gets on the road with their bike.
Obeying Traffic Rules
According to the NHTSA, children under ten do not have the mental capacity to make critical decisions required when riding on the road. So it’s best to advise kids under ten against getting on the road. Even when they’re of age, a relatively busy road is not be the safest place for them.
But because you cannot be around them all day to ensure they will never ride on the road, it is important to teach them basic traffic rules. According to the NHTSA, riders are bound by the same rules as other road users.
For example, they have to follow the flow of traffic, yield way at intersections, signal when turning, and have a light at night. It is also best to train your child to wear brightly-colored or reflective clothing to improve their visibility whenever they’re on the road.
These are a few ways you can help your child stay safe when they get their first bike. Teaching them bicycle safety when they’re young is a must as they get out enjoy bike riding in the years to come.