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Health Matters

Safe Cycling for the Family

May 1st, 2015

By Tammi Roy

After a long winter, one of the many things we've been looking forward to - is riding bikes.  It's a great feeling to trade those boots for sandals and the sleds for bikes. Not only is biking a great form of exercise, but it's also a wonderful way for families to bind and spend some time together.

That being said, one must also remember that bike-related injuries can happen and steps need to be taken for safety.

The main precaution is to always wear a properly fitting safety helmet - at all times. It's a cycling necessity, and a rule that should have no exceptions. Allowing your child to choose their helmet is a step to ensuring they'll wear it - since they come in so many colours and patterns. If you bike with your child, lead by example and always wear a helmet yourself.

As well, make sure to follow your local guidelines on cycling, ensuring the correct lanes and trails are used. My younger children take the sidewalk, while my oldest just started riding curbside in residential areas. For now, we stick to less-trafficked streets and utilize our city's great parks and trails.

For safety, teach kids about other cars, to ensure they know how to safely share the space with motorized vehicles. Always being alert, looking and listening are key aspects; even giving a lesson in hand signals to take it a step further. Since most bike accidents occur where streets intersect {roads, alleys and driveways}, focus on always being aware of your surroundings and possible dangers. As well, reading street signs together and teach kids to always make eye contact with drivers, so they know their presence.

Imply a set of rules when biking according to their skill and age, and for your own comfort level. Younger bikers might stay with the adult at all times, while older ones might have to stay within eyesight or so many 'light-posts' away from their accompanying adult. Teens might have more freedom to just hop on their bike and venture a set distance away - yet rules still need to be set. Not biking after dusk, checking in occasionally and sticking with a friend might be some safety guidelines to agree upon.

With some instruction now, you'll be sure to have a summer full of biking-fun!

Tammi is the mom of three girls (twins plus one) and is passionate about photography, food and travel (with luck, all at once). Her thoughts on parenthood and all the chaos in between can be found on her popular parenting blog, My Organized Chaos. While she has been widely recognized as a leading Canadian woman in social media, she is an ordinary mom often found pacing the kitchen wondering what to cook for dinner.

Tags: Safety

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