Fitness Friday: Biking with kids
The weather is finally warming up, and it is the perfect time to dust off those bikes.
Here are a few tips for biking safely with your kids.
First, when you are dusting off those bikes, make sure they are working properly. Check the brakes, seat and chains before you put your child on the back.
Then get out the helmets and safety gear. Make sure each helmet fits properly. Kids can grow at astounding rates from season to season, so make sure the helmet still fits. Also make sure the bike has working lights and reflectors, especially if you could ever possibly be biking as the sun goes down. A little time now can save lives and misery later.
If kids are just learning to bike, consider arm and knee pads.
Practice in the driveway or in your neighborhood before going out on the road or a more complicated trail.
Talk to your kids. Sit down and have a real talk about the dangers that you might encounter while biking. Remind them to stop and get off the bike if there is any concern.
Here are a few more tips from kidshealth.org:
Remember to share the path with the other riders, walkers, and strollers who also might be using it! And if you're going on a long ride, bring some water along with you.
Keep an eye on the road ahead so you can be prepared for big hills and road obstacles. Some common ones that can cause falls include:
• wet leaves
• big puddles
• changes in the road or sidewalk surface
• storm grates
• gravel or rocks
• little kids in your way!
If you're allowed to ride on the street, follow these road rules:
• Always ride with your hands on the handlebars.
• Always stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving your driveway, an alley, or a curb.
• Cross at intersections. When you pull out between parked cars, drivers can't see you coming.
• Walk your bike across busy intersections using the crosswalk and following traffic signals.
• Ride on the right-hand side of the street, so you travel in the same direction as cars do. Never ride against traffic.
• Use bike lanes or designated bike routes wherever you can.
• Don't ride too close to parked cars. Doors can open suddenly.
• Stop at all stop signs and obey traffic (red) lights just as cars do.
• Ride single-file on the street with friends.
• When passing other bikers or people on the street, always pass to their left side, and call out "On your left!" so they know that you are coming.
Review hand signals with your child. For a visual aid, go to: http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/out/bike_safety.html#
Be safe out there, and remember to enjoy the scenery and the fresh air as you bike around your community!