The long awaited season in Minnesota is finally here, summer! With the warm weather and kids out of school, now is the perfect time to ride your bike. Biking offers fun, freedom and exercise along with being good for the environment. Get outside and enjoy but be safe while doing so.
Here are some top tips to have fun biking this summer while protecting your melon:
Wear a Helmet
SafeKids has a simple saying: “Use your head, wear a helmet.” It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes.
Find the Right Helmet Fit
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. Safe Kids recommends kids take the Helmet Fit 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? If not, tighten those straps and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.
Keep an Eye Out
Tell your kids to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights. Be predictable when riding.
Model and Teach Good Behavior
You’d be surprised how much kids learn from watching you, so it’s important for parents to model proper behavior. Wear a helmet, even if you didn’t when you were a kid.
Teach your kids to make eye contact with drivers. Bikers should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.
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Misconceptions about helmets*
It doesn’t matter what kind of helmet I wear.
An ASTM, SNELL or CPSC approved helmet has passed crash testing, certifying it will protect the bicyclist in the event of a crash. Don’t wear a helmet that hasn’t passed the standards.
Only children need to wear helmets.
Anyone can be seriously hurt in a bicycle crash, especially adults who are often riding at faster speeds on busy roads. Adults are role models for children. Always wear a helmet no matter how old you are.
I ride mostly on paths or trails, so do I need to wear a helmet?
Most crashes occur on paths and trails. Often, there are people with children, strollers, pets, in-line skaters or other bicyclists riding slower or faster than you on the same path (which is usually 8′ or less in width.
Did you know? Preventable injuries are the #1 killer of kids in the United States.
Check out EMSC Minnesota’s partner on all things safety. SafeKids Minnesota is dedicated to give every child a chance to be whatever they can imagine. They work to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries.
Videos for Visuals
Helmet Safety – Cool Science Experiment
How Helmets Work to Protect Your Brain