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Oregon Family Magazine

Back-to-School Bike Safety

09/01/2021 ● By Pilar Bradshaw, M.D., F.A.A.P.
As kids head back to class for in-person learning, many children and teens will travel to and from home on their bicycles. Since it’s been more than a year and a half since schools operated on a regular in-person schedule, this is the perfect time to help your kids brush up on safety measures and the rules of the road.

The reality is that every year many kids are seriously injured in bicycle accidents. Taking a few precautions can help your kids stay safe on their wheels.

Always wear a properly fitted helmet. It’s estimated that bike helmets that fit correctly can reduce the risk of head injuries by as much at 85%. Make sure your child’s helmet fits squarely on their head, covers the top of the forehead and fits snuggly so it doesn’t slide. If a helmet is loose or tips back on the head, it won’t protect them properly in the event of a fall.

Eliminate distractions. Your child should avoid listening to music through headphones or earbuds and should not use their phone while riding. These devices distract riders from paying full attention to their surroundings.

Do a skills check. Take your child on a trial ride from home to school to identify any danger zones. Be sure your kids know how to navigate four-way stops and other traffic features they may encounter.

Make sure your child’s bike is the right size. Your child's height and weight are the main factors to take into consideration when choosing the right size bike. A bike that is too big or too small cam make it harder to reach the pedals and handlebars, and harder to control when riding.

We also remind drivers to be extra cautious. Be aware that more kids will be walking to and from bus stops, in crosswalks, and near busy streets. Reduced speed limits will be in effect in and around school zones. Be prepared to stop quickly for increased vehicle or pedestrian traffic. Please do your part to help make this a happy and healthy school year for our kids.