|The following is an excerpt taken from the article, “Bike Safety.” For more information please visit www.kidshealth.org.|
It’s a beautiful day — the sun is shining, the birds are chirping. What could be more perfect than a bike ride? But wait! Before you pull your bike out of the garage, let’s find out how to stay safe on two wheels.
Why Is Bicycle Safety So Important?
Bike riding is a lot of fun, but accidents happen. The safest way to use your bike is for transportation, not play. Every year, about 300,000 kids go to the emergency department because of bike injuries, and at least 10,000 kids have injuries that require a few days in the hospital. Some of these injuries are so serious that children die, usually from head injuries.
A head injury can mean brain injury. That’s why it’s so important to wear your bike helmet. Wearing one doesn’t mean you can be reckless, but a helmet will provide some protection for your face, head, and brain in case you fall down.
A Helmet How-To
Bike helmets are so important that the U.S. government has created safety standards for them. Your helmet should have a sticker that says it meets standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). If your helmet doesn’t have a CPSC sticker, ask your mom or dad to get you one that does. Wear a bike helmet EVERY TIME YOU RIDE, even if you are going for a short ride.
Your bike helmet should fit you properly. You don’t want it too small or too big. Never wear a hat under your bike helmet. If you’re unsure if your helmet fits you well, ask someone at a bike store.
Once you have the right helmet, you need to wear it the right way so it will protect you. It should be worn level and cover your forehead. Don’t tip it back so your forehead is showing. The straps should always be fastened. If the straps are flying, it’s likely to fall off your head when you need it most. Make sure the straps are adjusted so they’re snug enough that you can’t pull or twist the helmet around on your head.
Take care of your bike helmet and don’t throw it around. That could damage the helmet and it won’t protect you as well when you really need it. If you do fall down and put your helmet to the test, be sure to get a new one. They don’t work as well after a major crash.
Many bike helmets today are lightweight and come in cool colors. If you don’t love yours as it is, personalize it with some of your favorite stickers. Reflective stickers are a great choice because they look cool and make you more visible to people driving cars.