Bicycles are associated with more childhood injuries than any other consumer product except the automobile.
More than 70% of children ages 5 to 14 ride bicycles, and this group is 5 times more likely to be injured in a bicycle-related crash than older riders.
Head injury is the leading cause of death in bicycle crashes and is the most important factor in bicycle-related death and permanent disability. Head injuries account for more than 60% of bicycle-related deaths, more than 2/3 of bicycle-related hospital admissions and about one-third of hospital emergency room visits for bicycling injuries.
The single-most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes is a helmet. Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent, and it is estimated that they could prevent 75% of bicycle-related fatalities among children.
Unfortunately, fewer than half of kids ages 5 to 14 wear helmets when participating in wheeled activities, and more than a third of children who use helmets wear them improperly.
Bike Safety Tips
The National Safe Kids campaign offers the following safety tips:
- Wear a bicycle or motorcycle helmet on every ride. Check to see if your helmet should have a safety certification.
- Ride so drivers and cyclists can see you.
- Look both ways for oncoming vehicles before turning or crossing a street. Go only when it is clear.
- Watch out for potholes, cracks, rocks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks or anything that could make you lose control of your bike.
- Make sure your bike fits your height, weight and age.
- Inflate tires properly.
- Check brakes before riding.
- Bikers should ride one behind another and with the flow of traffic.