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Bicycle Safety Tips for Parents

Link to Spanish version

  • Begin by choosing the right size bicycle for each child -- not one to grow into.
    • Children should be able to sit on the seat with their feet flat on the ground.
    • Handlebars should be within reach, and hand and foot brakes easily operated.
  • Maintain the bicycle in proper condition. A bicycle shop can help give tips for proper care and repair.
  • Never let your child ride without a helmet. Helmets should meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard or be approved by ANSI, ASTM or Snell.
  • Be a role model and wear a helmet when you ride. A good fitting bicycle helmet should sit level over the eyebrows with no more than two fingers of space between the helmet and brows. The helmet should fit snugly (but not uncomfortably tight) and should not rock from side-to-side or back-and-forth.
  • Help your child be seen.
    • Bicycles should have reflectors on the sides and rear of the bicycle.
    • Brightly-colored clothing and a fluorescent flag on a pole will help them be seen.
    • Night bicycle riding is not recommended.
  • Help your child be heard. A horn or bell will alert others that your child is riding nearby.
  • Supervise your child while riding a bicycle until the following skills have been mastered.
    • Riding without wobbling
    • Stopping quickly without falling
    • Understanding bicycle safety instructions
  • Never allow children to ride double.
  • Teach your children to obey all road signs and traffic signals; cyclists must follow the same rules that motor vehicles must follow. Children should walk their bicycles across busy intersections.
  • Children should ride in a single file on the side of the road, with the flow of traffic, and use a bike trail or sidewalk whenever possible.
  • Show your children the proper hand signals to use while on a bicycle.
    • Left arm bent up in an "L" or right arm straight out for turning right
    • Left arm straight out for turning left
    • Left arm bent down for stopping
  • Place a bike basket or rack on your children's bicycles or give them a backpack so their hands are free to operate the bicycle.
  • Participate in community events that teach bicycle safety.

Internet Resources

Injury Prevention Service, OSDH, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Revised January 2012

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