Note: Singer Kwinter will be contributing a few posts to BikingToronto in June in honour of Brain Injury Awareness Month.
As summer vacation approaches, it is important to ensure your kids are safe while riding their bikes in the city.
Children who are learning to ride their bikes are not always aware of and able to respond to dangers on the road.
Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation has published a number of tips to help your kids bike safely this summer.
These include to:
1) Always have your child wear a helmet. A properly fitted helmet can reduce the risk of sustaining a head injury while riding. Helmets are also mandatory for all cyclists under the age of 18 in Ontario.
2) Ensure your child rides a bike that is the right size and fitted with proper equipment. A properly sized bike should allow your child to touch the ground with their feet. The bike should allow them to comfortably reach the handlebars and brakes. In Ontario, bikes are also required to be equipped with a bell or horn, lights on the front and back, and reflective tape.
3) Inspect your child’s bike before they ride. Help them check the tires, brakes, handlebars, chains and cranks, and quick release levers for any deficiencies or loose parts.
4) Familiarize your child with the rules of the road. This includes stopping at stop signs and red lights, riding in the same direction as traffic, and allowing one metre of space from the curb or parked cars.
5) Teach your child to use safe cycling skills when they ride. This includes being mindful of pedestrians, riding in a straight line on the right hand side of the road, dismounting their bike while crossing at a crosswalk or busy street, and using shoulder checks and hand signals.
For more biking safety tips, please consult the “Young Cyclist’s Guide” (PDF) prepared by the Ministry of Transportation.