School’s out for summer, which can only mean one thing. People of all ages are getting outside and riding their bikes. Whether you’re teaching your kiddo how to ride a bike for the first time or your family has been cycling for years, summer is the perfect time to ride around your neighborhood, the local park, or nearby trails.
But let’s be honest, as parents, we know that riding a bike carries a number of risks. Are our kids watching out for traffic or paying attention to the road? What if they wipe out and get hurt? While simply wearing a helmet can prevent serious injuries from occurring, today we’ll discuss 9 bicycle safety tips for kids to stay safe and alert while riding their Guardian Bikes this summer.
Choose the Right Size Bike
Safe bike rides start with choosing the right size bike. But, as parents, we’re often tempted to buy products that give our kids some “growing room.” While this can work for clothing and shoes, it simply doesn’t work with bikes. Choosing the right size bike for the person riding it is incredibly important. If the bike is too big or too small, it can ruin your child’s biking experience and lead to unnecessary and preventable accidents.
When purchasing a kid’s bike, you should never purchase a bike size based on an age range that is listed on a sizing chart. While these charts are designed for you to use your child’s height to determine the correct wheel size, we find that when a child is given the opportunity to sit on a few different bikes with the same wheel size, each bike fits a little differently. Kids the same age can be taller, shorter, and have different leg lengths than the average size kid.
Furthermore, kids’ bike sizing can vary greatly between different brands. Just because your child fits comfortably on their friend’s 24-inch bike doesn’t necessarily mean you should purchase that same size bike for your child.
So, how do you find the right size bike for your child? Guardian Bikes makes it extremely easy to find the correct fit for your child using their easy and interactive patented sizing tool, RideSizer®, which ensures that the bike you purchase will be absolutely perfect. Unlike other brands, this tool takes the guesswork out of picking the right size for your child and ensures that they will have a bike they feel comfortable and confident riding.
Guardian Bikes recognizes that kids don’t just need smaller bicycles; they need different bikes with all the right proportions, smaller grips, less distance between the pedals, shorter crank arms, and a low center of gravity. As such, RideSizer® is the most accurate way (over 95% accurate) to find the right bicycle size for your child. It takes into account your child’s bike inseam measurement (different from pant inseam – measured from the top of the crotch to where your child’s feet touch the ground with shoes on), rider experience, and the seat height of the bike.
Once you’ve selected the correct size bike for your child using Guardian Bikes’ RideSizer®, you can confirm the fit by having your child sit fully on the bike seat while holding the handlebars with both hands and the balls of their feet touching the ground. As your child grows, just use the quick-release adjustable seat to adjust the height.
For our child, Guardian Bikes’ 24 Inch Ethos in candy blue was just the right size. The Ethos has a lightweight steel frame, making it easy to control while still durable enough to outlast all those inevitable growth spurts. It also has a low crossbar that makes it easy to get on, and a lot safer if your kid comes off their seat in a hurry. And, like every Guardian bike, it’s kid-tested to be safe and fun to ride.
Wearing a properly fitted helmet not only will save your child’s life, but it’ll also protect them against serious head injuries. As such, to keep your children safe while riding their bikes, make sure that they know to wear a helmet every time they ride anything with wheels, including Guardian Bikes, scooters, skateboards, etc.
Nutcase sets the standard for fun when it comes to kid’s helmets, and raises the bar when it comes to safety featuring industry safety leader MIPS and a durable shell filled with protective Crumple Zone EPS foam.
Available in three sizes (toddler, small and medium) and multiple designs, Nutcase helmets ensure the ultimate fit and comfort for kids ages 3 and up. You can quickly adjust the helmet to safely fit your child. Furthermore, with Fidlock® Magnetic Buckles that allow you to quickly connect and disconnect the helmet without pinching, and 10 contoured air vents, your kiddo will not only look cool, but they’ll remain cool and protected all summer long.
Conduct Regular Mechanical Safety Checks
If you’re taking your Guardian Bikes out for the first time in months, it’s always a good idea to inspect them thoroughly from front to back. You might even take them to your local bike shop for an annual tune-up if they’ve been tucked away in the garage since last summer. However, we also recommend that each time your child goes to ride their bike, you conduct a quick A-B-C check.
- A for AIR – check that both bicycle tires are fully inflated and tightly secured.
- B for BRAKES – test the brakes before getting on the bike by pushing the bike forward and braking with the front, then back brakes.
- C for CHAIN – ensure that the chain is engaged on the gear cassette.
One of the things we love most about Guardian Bikes is their SureStop easy-stop brake system technology. With SureStop, there’s only one brake lever, so your child won’t get confused when things happen fast. This drastically reduces the chance of those head-over-handlebar accidents that we’ve witnessed when many other kids get their first “mountain bike” and don’t know how to properly stop. Paired with wider wheels and a lower center of gravity, Guardian Bikes are built specifically to keep kiddos safe.
We also love that the grip-shift components on Guardian Bikes’ 24-inch Ethos Kids’ Bike are simple and intuitive. It’s a big deal for kids to move from one-speed to seven! This easy-grip shift moves one direction for higher gears and the other way for lower making it easy for kids to adjust as they’re ready to tackle tougher terrain.
But the thing we truly love the most about Guardian Bikes is their year-long return policy. Guardian wants parents and kids both to love their bikes, but if you decide that your new bike isn’t a good fit, just let them know within 365 days. Guardian Bikes won’t ask you to return the bike but will ask you to donate it while sending you a full refund.
Find Safe Places to Ride Your Guardian Bikes
Until your child is mature enough to make the decisions necessary to safely ride in the street (which usually doesn’t occur until a child is at least 11 years old), it is best to stick to summer bike rides within quiet neighborhood streets, cul-de-sacs, and park trails. If you choose to take the kids on a more trafficked bikeway, make sure they can stop, start and ride in a straight line without help.
Follow the Rules of the Road
Unsafe bike-riding situations can be avoided entirely when we all play by the same rules. But, it’s important to know the rules first.
- Remember to ride in the direction of traffic, not against it. In the United States, that means riding on the right side of the road.
- Obey all traffic signals: Guardian Bikes are considered vehicles on the road. As such, they must obey traffic signs and traffic control devices just as if they were any other car, truck, etc.
- Always ride with hands on the handlebars (even when you’re tempted to say, “Look Mom, no hands!”).
- Stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving a driveway, an alley, or a curb.
- DO NOT pull out between cars. Always cross at intersections so that other drivers can see you coming.
- Walk your bike across busy intersections using the crosswalk and follow traffic signals.
Communicate With Other Drivers and Pedestrians
It’s also important to make sure to teach your children the signals for turning while riding Guardian Bikes. Hand signals are like turn signals and brake lights for cyclists and help other vehicles know what you’re planning to do next. You should never change directions or lanes without first looking behind you, and using the correct signals.
Another way to communicate with others (pedestrians or bikes) on the road is to use a bell or loud voice when passing. If your child’s bike doesn’t include a bell, you can always add one! All Guardian Bikes come equipped with handlebars that are 22.2 mm in diameter. Kids Bike Bells from Nutcase will fit handlebars from 22.2 mm up to 25 mm. Featuring fun and unique designs with a crisp, classic bell sound, the lever design of these bells allows kids to ring the bell without ever taking their hands off the handlebar.
Be Aware of Other Drivers
Cars, pedestrians, and other people on bikes can all help avoid collisions if everyone maintains an awareness of one another. This means riding in a straight line, avoiding sudden stopping, and using hand signals to communicate intentions (just as a car would turn on its turn signal). Parents should model this behavior.
On a similar note, just because you can see a driver does not mean they can see you. For example, don’t assume that because you are in a designated crossing zone that drivers will yield. As such, if your child is an inexperienced rider, you should have them pull to the side of the road and wait if they see a car coming. For more experienced riders, make eye contact with other drivers before crossing in front of them or pulling into their lane.
When it comes to riding Guardian Bikes, you should be free of anything that could distract you from the road. That includes not wearing long or loose clothing that could get caught in your bike chains or wheel spokes and discouraging your kids from wearing headphones or listening to tunes while riding so that they can be completely focused on the road.
Earlier, we mentioned that just because you can see a driver, doesn’t mean that the driver can see you. While there are a number of steps you can take to follow the rules of the road, we find that one of the better ways to stay visible while riding your Guardian Bikes this summer is to wear a bright shirt, jacket, vest, or other neon/fluorescent clothing so that others can see you, even during daylight hours. You can also wear flashing lights or reflective tape to ensure that you’ll be seen.
In addition, all Guardian Bikes, including the 24″ Ethos Bike, have four reflector lights: front white lights, rear red lights, and reflectors on each wheel.
Taking these common-sense bike-riding safety precautions seriously can go a long way to making sure your family will enjoy safe and fun bike rides with Guardian Bikes. We hope you and your kids enjoy your summer on two wheels!
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