Bicycle Safety is So Important
Tracy Trumper, Family & Consumer Science Extension Agent, Phillips County
With warmer weather upon us, families are spending more time outside enjoying the weather and getting their exercise in. Riding bikes with your family is a great way to be physically active and get out in nature. Additionally biking is a great way to explore your neighborhood or a new location. Remind children to wear a helmet every time they ride a bike. Be a healthy role model. If we want our kids to be safe on their bike, scooter, skateboard or skates, then we should be wearing a helmet ourselves. “Medical research shows that a bicycle helmet can prevent up to 85%of cyclists’ head injuries. More than 700 bicycle riders are killed in the U.S. every year, almost all in collisions with cars, and 75% of them die of head injuries.” (Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute).
Quick reminders from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute:
- Always wear a helmet wherever you ride.
- Even low-speed falls on a bicycle trail can cause brain injury.
- Make sure your helmet fits to get all the protection you are paying for. A good fit means it is level on your head, touching all around, comfortably snug, but not tight. The helmet should not move more than an inch in any direction. Make sure it can’t be pulled off.
- Check inside the helmet for a CPSC sticker. (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
- Pick white or bright colors for visibility to be sure that motorists and other cyclists can see you.
- Avoid a helmet with snag points sticking out, or a squared-off shell. For example, a rigid visor could snag on the pavement in a fall, causing a neck injury. Also, avoid helmets with not enough vents, too many vents, an extreme “aero” shape, thin straps or complicated strap adjustments.
- Remind children to remove helmets before playing on playground equipment. Helmets could get caught on something or become a choking hazard.
Because children are still developing physically, cognitively and mentally, parents or guardians should supervise them on bike rides. Only give your child as much independence and responsibility as they can safely handle. Improve bike skills by verbally instructing and showing the child the rules of biking, before going on frequent supervised bike rides.
Let children know that riding a bike is a great way to get exercise and spend time together, but that safety is a very important issue for all bike riders.
Review Household Rules, such as:
- Everyone wears a helmet
- Tell children who can or cannot ride without an adult.
- An adult needs to give permission and know:
- Where you are going
- Who you are going with
- When you are coming back.
Review Road Rules, such as:
- Always ride with your hands on the handlebars.
- Always stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving your driveway, an alley, or a curb.
- Cross at intersections. When you pull out between parked cars, drivers can’t see you coming.
- Walk your bike across busy intersections using the crosswalk and following traffic signals.
- Ride on the right-hand side of the street, so you travel in the same direction as cars do.
- Stop at all stop signs and obey traffic lights just as cars do.
- Ride single-file on the street with friends.
- Children 10 and under should be on the sidewalk or on bike paths as much as possible.
Resources: Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, Safe Kids USA
Recipe for Health:
Bikers Energy Bites
Carry a baggie with few of these “Bikers Energy Bites” and a bottle of water in your bicycle basket or backpack for some quick energy.
- ½-cup creamy nut butter or soy butter
- ½-cup honey
- 2-cups nonfat dry milk
- 1-cup quick cooking oatmeal
- ½-cup crispy rice cereal
Get Creative and add 1/2 cup of your favorite chopped dried fruit, shredded coconut, or chopped nuts. Try adding1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or vanilla for more flavor options.
- Wash hands.
- Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix well with a spoon until combined.
- Use hands to shape into 16 balls that are 1 inch in diameter.
- Store at room temperature.
Each serving of two balls has approximately 310 calories, 9 grams of fat, 48 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber and 12 grams protein.
Recipe adapted from Let’s Cook, Eating Smart Being Active, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, US Department of Agriculture.