As our children begin to grow over the years, most of us feel an inner conflict over wanting to protect them as well as letting them gain the necessary independence they need to mature and experience the world. What ifs abound though as we let them venture away from us, sometimes just ever so slightly. Along with all the worries about strangers and worldly dangers, there are countless anxieties regarding physical safety. And while bicycle riding is one of the greatest adventures kids can have, we can’t fool ourselves into thinking it is always safe—especially due to the threats posed by traffic and motorists who may not be paying full attention to the road.
The first step in allowing your child to enter the realm of bicycling is to make sure they have something safe to cruise on. If they don’t know how to ride on two wheels yet, training wheels should be level and secure. Protective gear is still important but becomes much more crucial when they are riding on two wheels and the potential is there for having an accident—on any level. Here are some good tips regarding gear to keep your child safe:
- The helmet is a requirement by the state of Florida for kids under the age of 16, and it must meet federal safety standards. The helmet should fit snugly, with easy-to-use straps adjusted accordingly. Without a helmet, children (or adults) run a much greater risk of concussion or traumatic brain injury in the case of an accident. Such injuries can have long-lasting repercussions and should be avoided at all cost. You can find out more about helmets from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI).
- Elbow and knee pads cushion other vulnerable areas of the body in the case of a bicycle accident, along with preventing nasty cuts, scrapes, and road rash. Such protection may eliminate the need for stitches after a fall. Protective gloves for the hands are helpful too.
- Protective clothing and especially in bright or neon colors to promote visibility is recommended. Long-sleeved shirts and pants help protect the skin from trauma in the case of a fall, and sturdy shoes (not flip flops) are always recommended.
Whether on vacation, riding around the neighborhood, or going to and from school, your child should be well-educated on traffic rules. The bicycle should have a working bell and/or horn, along with functional lights should they be riding in the very early morning or at dusk. Being alert is extremely important while riding near traffic and this includes being able to hear—so encourage your child to refrain from using earbuds while riding.
If you or your child have been injured in a bicycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!
All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.