A Family That Bikes Together, Stays Together: Bike Safety Tips!
Safe Family Biking Tips and Guidelines
Going for family bike rides is an excellent way to bond while enjoying the great outdoors. Plus, it makes exercise more fun for everyone!
Of course, you also want to be safe when you’re out riding together. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a newcomer to fun times on two wheels, here are some bike safety tips and guidelines to remember.
Safety gear for biking
Before you hit the road, every family member needs properly fitting safety gear. Helmets are the most important piece of safety equipment (and you should always wear yours), but little ones will also benefit from knee and elbow pads.
Helmets should fit snugly, sit level and low on the forehead, and the side straps should create a V under each ear. Tighten the strap so no more than one or two fingers fit under the strap. Have your child test their helmet’s snugness with the “yawn test”: when you yawn big, the helmet should be pulled down onto the head. If it doesn’t pull down, the chin strap needs tightening.
Other “safety gear” includes brightly colored clothing that will help your crew stand out to drivers and pedestrians. You’ll also want lights if you’ll be biking from dusk onward. Every bike should have rear and front-facing lights, but feel free to have some fun with your visibility — colorful spoke lights are a fun way to stay safe.
A properly fitting bike is also important. Consult your local bike shop or online resources to be sure saddle and handlebars are adjusted correctly for the rider.
Choose a route that’s comfortable for everyone
Once you have your bike and safety gear, it’s time to decide where to ride. Make sure everyone has a great time by choosing a route everyone can tackle, especially the youngest riders.
Starting out on a flat, paved path without much traffic is ideal. Ride as a group so everyone can keep up, especially in the beginning. Eventually, you may find more individual autonomy works for your family.
As you continue biking together, increase the distance, incline, terrain, amount of traffic, and other factors. Calm, relatively flat mountain biking trails will help young riders gain confidence on uneven, rocky terrain.
Just remember — don’t push your children too hard if they aren’t ready for the physical and mental challenge. The goal is to keep biking fun so they keep biking!
Teach your children biking laws and other rules
Local laws vary, so get familiar with the rules and educate your kids. Take sidewalk riding for example. Some cities allow it, and some don’t.
Education isn’t just about delivering a lecture, either. Some children learn faster by doing rather than just listening. If you know you’ll need time to teach the family about safety, think about how it will impact the ride. It might be better to pick an easier route while explaining hand signals or how to pass other riders on the trail.
Soon there won’t be much need for safety lessons, and the whole family can hit the roads and trails regularly to make some cycling memories!