Getting ready to hop on your bike to enjoy this nice Arizona weather? Our Injury Prevention Center offers you tips of things you should always do when riding a bike:
- Only buy a bike that is the right size, not one to grow into.
- To size a bike for younger children, make sure their feet can firmly touch the ground while they are seated.
- To size a bike for older children, make sure their tiptoes can touch the ground while seated.
- Teach children to stop their bikes using brakes instead of dragging their feet.
- Children age 8 years and younger should ride on the right-hand sidewalk until their bicycle riding and traffic skills are developed.
- Stop and look both ways before entering a street from the sidewalk, a driveway or between parked cars. Look left, right and then left again.
- Walk a bicycle across intersections.
- Ride in the right-hand lane of the road, going the same direction as traffic.
- Obey all traffic signals and signs because they apply to bicycles as well as motorized vehicles.
- For correct helmet fit, follow these guidelines:
- Helmet must be level and low on the forehead, just above the eyebrows.
- Helmet must touch all the way around the head. Use sponge pads to adjust the fit.
- Front and rear straps form a "Y" just below the ears.
- Chinstrap must be snug, allowing only one finger between the strap and chin.
According to the 2005 Arizona Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 87 percent of students who rode a bicycle during the previous 12 months reported that they never or rarely wore a bicycle helmet. While wearing a helmet won't prevent a crash, it can prevent life-long disability – or even death – that can result from a brain injury. Wearing a helmet reduces a child's risk of serious brain injury by 88 percent. Nearly half of all bike-related hospitalizations have a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury.
The goal of Phoenix Children's Helmet Your Brain program is to teach children to get into the helmet habit. This safety awareness program reached more than 2,000 kids and families in 2006. A Helmet Your Brain program box and curriculum is available to teachers and community organizations.
More than 80 percent of bicycle-related fatalities involving children under the age of 14 are due to the bicyclist's behavior. Bicycle "Driver" Education is similar to driver's education, but the vehicle is a bike, skateboard or scooter. Teaching children how to think, behave and respond like a "driver" adds a new dimension of responsibility to riding a bicycle. This curriculum provided by Phoenix Children's teaches middle school students across the Valley how to prevent accidents, how to cross intersections, obey traffic signals, ride safely at night, and make safe decisions in traffic.
For more information call the Center for Family Health and Safety at Phoenix Children's Hospital 602-933-0960