Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern
Monday, July 21, 2014, Mill Creek MetroParks and Safe Kids of Akron Children’s Hospital present Kid’s Bike Safety Day! Located at Fellows Riverside Gardens, Kid’s Bike Safety Day is a fun educational event that promotes bike safety to help your riders stay safe! There will be free bicycle helmets and fittings, MetroParks Police officers demonstrating safe riding skills, fun activities, and giveaways!
In addition to the great information provided to you and your kids at Kid’s Bike Safety Day, Safe Kids of Akron Children’s Hospital’s Gia Ramsey, Injury Prevention Coalition Coordinator, provided me with some helpful information about bike safety!
ER: Gia, can you give us an idea of how many child biking injuries occur yearly?
GR: Each year almost 100 children are killed and 250,000 children are injured riding bicycles. Also, although many people are aware that helmets are important or own them, only one out of four children actually wear them.
ER: What are the safety requirements for helmets?
GR: Children and adults should wear helmets that fit properly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Helmets should fit snugly, level, on top of the head. When looking toward the sky, the brim of the helmet should be visible. The straps should make a “V” under the ears and be tight under the chin when the mouth is opened wide.
The Helmet How To: Quick Check
- Eyes: Look up and see the bottom rim of the helmet. This should be one to two finger widths above the eyebrows.
- Ears: Make sure the straps form a “V” under the ears when buckled. The straps should be snug but comfortable.
- Mouth: Open you mouth as wide as you can. Do you feel the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten those straps and make sure the buckle us flat against your skin.
ER: What are the appropriate bicycle requirements?
GR: You always want to make sure that the bicycle is the proper size and in proper working order before riding. As your children grow, the size of their bicycle and helmet should too. But, don’t get one that they will grow into in the future. When sitting on the seat, the child’s feet should be able to touch the ground. Before each ride, make sure that the reflectors are secure, brakes are working properly, gears shift smoothly and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.
ER: How can someone check this?
GR: Local bike shops have professionals available to help with proper bicycle fit. If possible, have the child fit the bike before purchasing it.
ER: Where should kids ride?
GR: Children under 10 years old should be limited to riding on sidewalks (although be careful for driveways), parks or bike paths. No matter where you ride, teach your child to stay alert and watch for cars and trucks. For children over the age of 10, they should follow the rules of the road. Bicyclists should ride on the right side of the road with traffic, using appropriate hand signals. They should understand and respect traffic signals, stop signs and stoplights. Teach them to stop, look left, right and left again before entering an intersection. Always make eye contact with drivers to ensure they are paying attention before crossing the street. Look back and yield to traffic coming from behind before turning left. Children should be able to demonstrate riding competence and knowledge of the rules of the road before cycling with traffic.
Where to ride in the MetroParks:
There are many places to take your bike out for a spin, but there are certain places in the park that are designated for bikers of all ages but are especially safe for kids!
- The MetroParks Bikeway: This 11-mile paved trail is part of the Great Ohio Lake River Greenway. With numerous trailheads and a variety of scenery, bikers can safely travel this linear park to explore, experience, and enjoy a healthful ride.
- East Golf Hike/Bike Trail: This is a 1.5 mile trail that runs from Route 224 to Shields Road and provides an asphalt surface for bikers.
- East Cohasset Hike/Bike Trail: This 1.5 mile asphalt surfaced drive provides a scenic route above Lake Cohasset.
All of these MetroParks trails are closed to motorized traffic and provides bikers with a safe route to ride. These places are perfect for the kids to ride their bikes and practice appropriate bike safety!
ER: What type of obstacles should kids look out for?
GR: Always be aware of your surroundings and terrain when riding. Look ahead for potholes, rocks and other obstacles!
ER: Any last minute tips and tricks?
GR: You’d be surprised how much kids learn from watching you, so its extra important for parents to model proper behavior. Wear a helmet, even if you didn’t when you were a kid. Actively supervise children until you’re comfortable that they are responsible on their own.
From now until September 30, your safe riders will be issued “sweet citations” by the MetroParks Police for practicing correct bike safety in the Park! When a MetroParks officer sees cautious kids wearing appropriate attire, being careful, and of course wearing their helmet, the officer will grant them a coupon to Dairy Queen on Market Street for a one free small ice cream cone!
Thank you Gia for all the helpful guidelines on bike safety! Come out and learn more at Mill Creek MetroParks’ and Safe Kids of Akron Children’s Hospital’s Kid’s Bike Safety Day! And remember, no matter where you’re riding, wear a helmet!