Start of summer brings reminders for bicycle safety

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Five-year old Logan was excited to receive her first big-girl bicycle.

But before she takes a spin around the neighborhood, Teresa Taylor, RN, of Safe Kids Shawnee County wants to make sure she'll be as safe as possible hitting the road.

First up - protect your head.

"A helmet is the number one safety device that will protect people while riding a bike," Taylor said. "It can decrease injuries by about 50 percent."

The right fit is two fingers of space above the eyebrow, straps on either side of the ears, and keep it snug. When the child opens his or her mouth all the way, they should feel the helmet hugging their head.

With helmet on, make sure the seat's not too tall.

"We want to be sure they can put their feet on the ground to steady themselves," Taylor explained.

With a final check on the chain, reflectors, and brakes, it's time to review the rules of the road.

"It's really important to ride in a safe place and with adult supervision. Typically it's not til age 10 or after that kids can judge how far away a car is and how fast it is coming," she said. "Even if that car that's coming has a stop sign, make sure the child makes eye contact with the driver to be sure the driver has seen them."

Drivers need to be aware, too.

"Keep your eyes out. There are bicyclists everywhere," Taylor said. "Motorists need to be aware bicycles have the right of way, just like a car does, so be aware, pay attention to the road and minimize distractions when driving."

In 2014, 242,931 children under the age of 19 went to emergency rooms for bicycling-related injuries.

You can find more bicycle safety tips from Safe Kids USA at www.safekids.org/bike.