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April/May 2000  -  Volume 3  -  Issue 3

Rolling Safely Along

By The American Red Cross - Mile High Chapter

Riding a bicycle is like driving a car. When children ride bicycles, they should be taught the proper way to obey traffic laws, signs, and signals. Each year, approximately 400 children under 15 are killed in incidents involving bicycles, almost all of which are the result of a crash with a vehicle. In the 1990's, an estimated 383,459 children under 15 were treated in emergency rooms for bike-related injuries each year. In this short article, you will find a few essential tips on how to keep your children safe when riding a bicycle.

Tip #1 - Do not ride at night. Children should be discouraged from riding a bicycle at night. Many drivers of cars have a difficult time seeing a child on a bike in the dark until it is too late. If the child must ride at night, please equip them with reflectors and a bike light.

Tip #2 - Get the right bike. When you go to buy a bike for your child, please make sure that the bike is the proper size. If it's not the right size, it will be hard for the child to ride safely.

Tip #3 - Wear the right things. The most important thing for a child to wear while riding is a bicycle helmet. The helmet should fit properly and meet national safety standards. Helmets that meet National Safety Standards will have a label on either the box or the actual helmet. Usually, it should be indicated on both. It is hard to buy a helmet off the shelf that will fit your child perfectly. Most children will complain if a helmet is too tight, so that is less of a problem, but children won't complain if it is too loose and that is a problem. A loose helmet can slide off and end up causing more problems than good.

Some children may not want to wear helmets. To ease this, you may want to allow them the choice of what kind of helmet they will wear. Letting them choose their favorite color and reminding them that they can decorate the helmet any way they want may be helpful.

Tip #4 - No head-phones allowed. Children who ride their bikes with headphones on have little or no chance of hearing danger coming near them.

The section above includes information on riding a bike in the street, because young children need to be aware of street-riding hazards. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advises that children under age nine should not ride their bikes in the street. You should encourage your children to ride on bike paths or sidewalks. If you have any questions regarding the information in this article, please contact the Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross at 303-722-7474. We look forward to working with you in the very near future.

Copyright 2000 American Red Cross, Mile-High Chapter. Reprinted by permission. Contact the Mile-High Chapter for reprint permission at 444 Sherman St. Denver, CO 80203 - (303) 722-7474 ext. 126

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