Spring Starts Central Oregon Biking Season: Facts and Tips!

March 20 marked the first day of spring! So it's not too early to think about your child's bicycle safety, as kids will no doubt be begging to get out and ride.

Our Central Oregon injury lawyers know that the city officials have been keeping closer tabs on bicycle trends and related crashes in recent years, as bicycle ridership has increased over the years. In part this is due to certain bicycle friendly improvements throughout Central Oregon, including many miles of bicycle lanes in various locations.

Wearing a helmet, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, reduces the risk of brain and head injuries by nearly 90%. Yet, the NHTSA noted, just 25% of kids between the ages of 5 to 14 actually wear a helmet when biking. Teens report numbers close to zero.

In the last ten years, an average of 130 children aged 14 and under die in this country each year in bicycling accidents. You can't force motorist to abide by traffic safety laws, but you can do everything in your power to keep your children safe.

To do this, keep the following tips from NHTSA in mind:

  • Wear a helmet, and make sure it is property fitted. You can learn more about how to ensure a proper fit by clicking here. www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/bike/easystepsweb
  • Adjust the fit of your child's bicycle. Have him or her stand over the bike and make sure there are 1-2 inches between your child and the top tube and that the seat is level front to back and adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended.
  • Teach your child to check the inflation of the tires and the brakes - every time - before heading out.
  • Instruct your child on how to best make him or herself visible. Whether it's day or night, wear bright or even fluorescent colors, as well as something that will reflect light, such as reflective tape or flashing lights. Understand that just because you see a car doesn't mean the driver sees you. For this reason, it's better to avoid riding at night.
  • Your child should know how to watch for road hazards, like potholes, gravel, leaves, broken glass, puddles and dogs.
  • Children under the age of 10 should not be riding in the street. They should be on the sidewalk.
  • Teach your child to watch for parked vehicles, as there is a risk of them backing out or a door suddenly opening.