Friday, June 24, 2011

Fat Butt Friday: Bike Safety

A few days ago, I heard on the local news that a four year old was run over and killed on his bike -- the truck was going one mile an hour!  I know this kind of thing happens all the time, especially this time of year, but having 3 boys under 6, stories like this really hurt my heart.

People talk about it and mourn for the loss of someone's child they don't know, and some learn from it and some don't.  I get really angry inside when I see parents letting their kids get away with not following simple bike rules, like not playing in the streets.  Yesterday I saw three girls around the ages of 8 to 10 riding their bikes down the middle of well used street.  No helmets.  What were they thinking?  What were the parents thinking teaching their girls that that was alright?  You think it is never going to happen to you or your kids, but let me tell you, it can and will if you aren't taking certain safety measures.

Since this challenge is including biking this year, I just want to share a few safety tips that most of us know, but some of us forget.  Please help keep our children safe.  If you are interested, click here to see some stats.

1.  Wear a helmet!!  The most obvious and common of rules, but seriously, for ever 20 bikers I see only one is wearing a helmet!  HELLO!  Parents, if you want your kids to learn the importance of helmet-wearing, you MUST wear one yourself.  You are the example!  Make sure they fit properly, you can find a guide here.  Also, a warning, don't let your child play on the playground or climb trees while wearing their helmet.  Also put helmets on your children even if they are riding in a bike trailer.

2.  Bike Trailer Safety:  Like I said above, put helmets on your kids.  Don't put children who are too young and small in bike trailer -- see specific bike trailer safety guidelines.  Use the orange flag on the trailer so that cars and trucks are aware that you are hauling a trailer, some can't see because the trailers ride low.  And make sure the trailer is latched properly per instructions.  Also buckle them in!  I can't tell you how many times I see families going down the road with kids jumping around in the back and standing up!  Drives me crazy!

3.  Teach your children to walk their bikes across the street.  Lots of parents don't understand the purpose of this practice.  I will tell you what my dad, a retired cop, told me.  This practice of getting off the bike to cross the street not only helps drivers to be more aware of people crossing the street, it also instills caution in your children when it comes to roads.   How many children have just zipped out on their bikes in front of your car before?  If you teach your children to walk their bikes while they are in the streets they are less likely to be playing out there or riding into danger.  My kids know to stop before every road now and get off their bikes.  I feel safer taking them out because of it.

4.  Remember that cars can't see bikes well.  Lots of children that are dying these days are because they are being backed out over.  Your child or you may be skilled enough, you think, to ride carelessly around in your "safe" cul-de-sac, but that is a false sense of security especially with the whole cell phone and text messaging going on in cars these days.

5.  It's okay to be loud and flashy!  Bike lights, bike flags, horns, streamers, bells -- Not just for looks -- all these things are to make your bikes and kids bikes visible.  Sam has to ring his bike bell every time he sees a car because I told him once that was what he bell was for -- so that people knew he was coming.

So get out there on your bikes!  Have fun! Just be safe.  And a double thumbs up to all the families out there that do follow the safety rules.

Here's a fun coloring page I found for the kiddos:

Have a great weekend!!!

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3 comments:

Phannie said...

Amen!

Andrea said...

Stories like this also make my heart sad! Thanks for sharing some good bike safety rules, I think we can all use reminders!

Ang @ Sparkles and Bugs said...

Great Reminders! Thanks for sharing! If you get a chance check out my new post and the start of my Fitness Fridays on my blog: www.sparklesandbugs.blogspot.com