California kids love to ride their bicycles, but parents must ensure that their offspring have the skill levels required for riding amidst traffic. Below are some tips for parents to give their kids a safer bike riding experience.
-- Your children's bikes should fit their size, and adjustments should be made after growth spurts.
-- Insist kids wear a bike helmet on each and every ride. During a crash or fall, the helmet provides cushion and protection against serious or fatal head injuries.
-- Helmets must fit low on the forehead to provide adequate protection. Riding with them too far back on the head is insufficient in a crash.
-- Practice riding in safe areas away from traffic. An empty parking lot is a good spot, as are parks without vehicle traffic.
-- Have them focus on braking and shifting gears, glancing over their shoulders before merging and turning, riding in single file and signaling their intentions.
-- Kids riding during the daylight hours should wear brightly-colored clothing. Children should only ride at night accompanied by a responsible adult. A white light at the front of the bike and red reflectors in the back enhance bike visibility after dark.
-- Prior to every ride, have kids do their ABCs: check the air in the tires, the brakes and make sure that the chain is secure.
-- Never ride with more than one rider on a seat.
-- Being street smart about cycling means children need to keep hands on the handlebars.
-- Kids shouldn't use a cellphone or headphones while biking. If they need to answer or make a call, they should pull their bike over and do it.
Even when children (and adults) obey all the rules of the road, accidents caused by negligent drivers still can occur. If your claim for damages isn't honored, it may be necessary to sue the driver and/or the insurance company.