Kids of all ages love cycling. Cycling is fun, healthy and practical. It is a great way to spend time as a family, get exercise and travel around the neighbourhood.
However; as with other forms of transportation, there are risks. Cycling is a leading cause of unintentional injury and hospitalization in Canadian kids under age 14 and those injuries can be very serious, says a statement from Interior Health.
“While the most common cycling injuries among children are broken bones and scrapes, head injuries are the number one cause of serious injury and death,” Dr. Heather Wilson, Interior Health’s Trauma Services Medical Director, said in the statement, which was released on Monday, May 4. “Unfortunately, every year in our emergency departments we see children with bicycle related injuries that are preventable.”
Putting safety first ensures everyone enjoys the ride.
“Following safe cycling practices, such as wearing a helmet, having a properly adjusted bike, and following the rules of the road can save lives,” said Lex Baas, Practice Lead with Promotion and Prevention. “Parents, as both teachers and role models, play a key role in keeping kids safe on the road.”
Interior Health offers up these cycling safety tips for the whole family:
- Wear a helmet: Parents and children should wear a properly fitted bike helmet. When correctly worn, a bike helmet can reduce the risk of serious head injury by up to 80 per cent. For information on how to properly fit a helmet visit Parachute Canada (http://www.parachutecanada.org/injury-topics/topic/C8).
- Check your ride: Ensure bikes are adjusted to the recommended height for the rider, tires are inflated and brakes are working properly. Bicycle size and height recommendations can be found on CAA’s bicycle safety webpage (http://bikesafety.caa.ca/cyclists/bicycle-equipment/choosing-a-bicycle.php).
- Be prepared: Everyone in the family should be trained in bicycle safety and the rules of the road. This includes the use proper hand signals and understanding and obeying all traffic signs.
- Pick family-friendly well-lit bike routes: Protect young riders by using designated areas for riding
- when available. Making sure bikes have reflectors and lights will make it easier to be seen.
- Pick the right side of the road: Always ride on the right side of the road, the same direction that traffic is going and stay as far to the right as possible
- Use your bell: Put bells on bikes and use them to announce when passing. If you don’t have a bell, use your voice.
May 4 – 10 is Safe Kids Week – this year’s focus is on cycling and road safety. Now in its 19th year, this national public awareness campaign is designed to raise awareness about the frequency and severity of preventable childhood injuries, which are the leading cause of death amongst Canadian children.
For more information on Safe Kid’s Week and bicycle safety, visit: