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May Is Bike Safety Month

 May is Bike Safety Month

Did you know that bikes are associated with more childhood injuries than any other consumer product except automobiles?  Sadly, child bicycling deaths increase 45% above the month average in the summer. With 27.7 million children riding bikes, we know there are too many of those kids riding without a helmet.

Bike helmets are a necessity, not an accessory!  Learning how to ride a bike is a rite of passage in childhood, and it’s an activity that families can certainly do together. However, there are some important things for you to consider before jumping on that bike.

Top Bike Safety Tips

  • Make it a rule: every time you and your child ride a bike, wear a bicycle helmet that meets the safety standards developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Helmet fit is important.

  • Make sure the helmet fits and your child knows how to put it on correctly. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, and should not rock forward, backward or side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled but not too tightly.

Try the Eyes, Ears and Mouth Test:

  • EYES check: Position the helmet on your head. Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
  • EARS check: Make sure the straps of the helmet form a “V” under your ears when buckled.  The strap should be snug but comfortable.
  • MOUTH check: Open your mouth as wide as you can.  Do you feel the helmet hug your head? 

(Want to see a video demonstrating the eyes, ears and mouth test?  Go to:  http://www.safekids.org/safety-basics/safety-spotlight/bike-safety-month/ )

Proper equipment fit and maintenance are also important for safety.

  • Ensure proper bike fit by bringing the child along when shopping for a bike. Buy a bicycle that is the right size for the child, not one he will grow into. When sitting on the seat, the child’s feet should be able to touch the ground.
  • Make sure the reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.