Most cycling injuries don’t involve another vehicle, but occur when children fall off their bike after crashing into a pole, curb or fence. Head injuries are the main cause of death and disability to cyclists. Bike helmets help reduce injury.
Every child needs a helmet even if you are not riding on the road or they are being supervised by an adult (All helmets should meet AS/NZS 2063).
To be effective a helmet has to be well fitting and has to be used! Helmets should be worn when cycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, roller skating and using micro-scooters.
- Measure the child’s head before purchasing in order to select the correct size.
- The helmet should fit firmly on the head with the chinstrap securely fastened.
- Do the push test once fastened. If the helmet can be pushed back and forwards then it won’t protect the front or the back of the head in a fall. The helmet is too big.
Make sure the bike fits: A bike that is too big or small is a safety hazard.
How to check: have your child sit on his/her bike; at least the toes should touch the ground on both sides.
Do equipment spot checks: Parents should ensure their child’s bicycle is equipped with safety devices such as lights (AS3562), reflectors (AS2142) and a bell or horn. Helmets should be approved for safety with an Australian Standards (AS2063) certification.
Be a role model: Set a good example when cycling with your children and wear a helmet too – it is required by law!
Make bikes Safer: Buy safe bicycles, with spoke guards & chain guards; Ensure a bike lamp is used at dusk or at night; Fit safety devices to bicycles such as reflectors and safety flags.
Tips for Safe Cycling
- Ensure supervised riding: Children under age ten should cycle with responsible adults. Most children in that age group do not have the skills to cycle safely without supervision & on road.
- Learn the rules of the road: Make sure children are taught the rules of the road for safe cycling practices before they are allowed to ride by themselves.
- Know the dangers of the driveway: Children should know the driveway is dangerous and can pose a safety risk. They should always stop before entering the road, scan by looking in all directions, listen & think about if it is safe to cross the road. Do not encourage children to ride their bikes in the driveway.
- Wear bright coloured clothing: Cyclists should wear bright coloured clothing or use a visibility vest so they stand out and are easy to see.
- For young cyclists, a footpath or shared path is the best place to cycle, unless a no bicycles sign is on display. The Road Traffic code 2000 allows children under 12 to ride on footpaths, but remember that driveways are dangerous
- Children should avoid riding on busy streets and riding at night
- Help children understand when it is safe to cross the road
Teach children to walk their bikes when crossing the street, crosswalk or railway crossings.