Bike safety: Tips to avoid common injuries
Warmer weather means more outdoor activities such as bike riding so it’s a good time of year to review bike safety awareness.
With three out of four children in Canada having a bicycle, the Red Cross says cycling is great exercise and a way for children to learn responsibility. Parents and caregivers should encourage biking while stressing safety, including mandatory use of properly fitted and secured helmets.
Speed, inexperience and not wearing protective gear are among leading causes of cycling injuries for children. About a third of hospital emergency visits for children with cycling injuries involve broken bones, and one in 10 cycling deaths or serious injuries result from collisions with vehicles.
Tips to encourage bike safety:
- Ensure children wear properly fitted and secure helmets (studies show children between ages 10 and 14 are the group least likely to wear a helmet)
- Use reflective stripes on clothing and bicycles, and use flickering lights (even during daylight hours) to make cyclist more visible to motorists
- Keep away from busy streets and parking lots
- Know and obey traffic rules when cycling on the road
- Bike with a buddy – if children or youth are cycling any distance without parental supervision, bike with a buddy, agree in advance on a return time and stick to a route that’s familiar, illuminated and avoids secluded areas
- Have first aid training to have the skills and confidence to provide emergency treatment for common cycling injuries like falls, fractures or bleeding