Bicycle safety tips from Safe Kids Wichita Area
Families are enjoying the outdoors on their bikes this summer. While inflating the tires and checking the brakes are important, a helmet is essential. Parents, caregivers, and children need to wear a helmet each time they ride a bike — no matter how long or short the distance traveled. The single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes is a helmet.
Ronda Lusk, Outreach and Prevention community health educator and Safe Kids Wichita Area Coalition coordinator, reminds parents and caregivers to make sure helmets fit and that your kids know how to put them on correctly. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, and should not rock forward and backward or side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled, but not too tightly.
Some bicycle safety tips:
Make sure the bike is the right size for the child. There should be about one inch of clearance between the bike frame and the child’s groin when the child’s feet are flat on the ground.
Make sure the bike is in good repair. Reflectors should be secure, brakes working properly, gears shifting smoothly, and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.
Bike helmets are for biking. Kids should not wear bike helmets on the playground where the straps can get caught on equipment and cause injury or for activities that require specialized helmets, such as skiing or football.
Model and teach proper bicyclist behavior. Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and lights.
When in doubt, get help. The sales staff at any bicycle shop or outdoor recreation store should be able to provide expert advice on fitting and adjusting bikes and helmets.
Bicycle Safety Clinics will be held by the Wichita Police School Liaison program partnering with Via Christi Trauma Services and Safe Kids. Clinics are designed to teach skilled and safe bicycle riding to kids age 6-11. For more information call 268-4207 or check out www.wichitapolice.com.
Safe Kids recommends the “Eyes, Ears and Mouth” test for proper bicycle helmet fit:
- Eyes: Position the helmet on your head. Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
- Ears: Make sure the straps of the helmet form a “V” under your ears when buckled. The strap should be snug but comfortable.
- Mouth: Open your mouth as wide as you can. Do you feel the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten the straps and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.