By CASSIE TURNER
Is your family ready for bicycle season? It is time to dust the bicycle off and get ready for fun.
Bicycling is a great family activity. It is good exercise and a simple way to send time together as a family.
Before the family heads out on their bicycles, take some time for a safety inspection. It is a good habit to form and will lead to a more enjoyable time out without unnecessary accidents, injury or breakdowns on the road.
Make the safety check a family duty. Research studies and personal experience tell us that young children practice what they see their parents doing.
Is your bike in good shape? Are the tires inflated properly, brakes working, reflector panels in place and, if you have lights, are they working correctly?
What personal equipment do we need? All riders should have a properly fitted helmet and bright clothes.
Helmets protect you and your child’s brain by lessening the impact of a fall. Even the best riders have accidents: loose gravel, an animal darting across the street, a simple loss of balance, for example.
Helmets should fit snug to the head and the straps should be fastened snug under the chin.
Bike helmets can be economically purchased at department stores, bike shops and are given away at some community events.
It is also important to know when to replace a helmet. Manufacturers and health officials recommend that helmets be replaced after a fall in which the helmet hits the ground.
It is not possible to see small cracks or dents that stop the helmets’ effectiveness for protection. When in doubt, get a new helmet, at a minimum, have it inspected at a bike shop, a health department, or a police department.
Proper clothing is also important. Youth should wear bright clothes that are not too lose or long that might get tangled up with a bike.
Remember, just because you as a rider can see someone in a car does not mean he or she can see you.
It is important to have proper reflectors and lights on your bike when riding in the evening and wear reflective clothing.
Bike riders should also be aware that if riding after dusk, it is law to have working lights, in addition to reflectors on your bike. It is law that, while riding at night, a white light should be on the front and a red light on the rear.
Local law enforcement share that riders should ride with traffic not against it.
Young riders may ride on sidewalks but should also give the right of way to people on foot.
Bike safety should be something that enhances a ride and has a family coming home safely. There are lots of fun ways to learn more through scouts, 4-H, and community activities.
Today is the 3rd Annual Bike Rodeo sponsored by Bikes, Books and Badges; Safe Kids; and the City of Findlay; at the Marathon larking lots in Findlay from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.
This free family event includes a WOW Unicycling 4-H Club demonstration, obstacle courses, bike giveaway, guided rides in the community, helmet fitting, free food and more. Third through sixth graders may win bike giveaways.
Come out for a fun morning and be sure your family is ready for the biking season!
Turner is a Ohio State University Extension educator for 4-H Youth Development.
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