Hello, this is Ed Holpfer with the Better Kids Institute.

The weather is finally turning warmer and kids everywhere are hopping back onto their bikes to ride through the neighborhood. It is a great source of exercise and fun, but it can also be dangerous if you and your kids don’t take some basic precautions.

By now, we all know about the dangers of head and brain injuries such as concussions yet many children still ride their bikes without wearing a helmet. Due to inexperience or simply becoming distracted while riding, children fall off their bikes fairly often and every time that happens they are at risk for hitting their head on the pavement, mailboxes that protrude into the street (my childhood friend ran head-first into one once), fire hydrants or other objects. For their safety, a helmet should be a no-excuses requirement.

We also need to ensure that our kids are aware of the fact that they are sharing the road with cars and must stay out of the way of traffic. Parents of younger children should always keep an eye on where their kids are riding even if it just in your driveway. Many times a child will pedal themselves down the driveway and into the street without looking for oncoming traffic which could lead to tragedy.

Once the kids are a little older, and you feel comfortable with letting them ride unsupervised, be sure that they understand that they have to obey the same rules of the road as cars. This means stopping at stop signs and looking both ways before crossing and riding with the flow of traffic, not against it.

By taking a few precautions and teaching our kids to be safe on their bikes, we can all ensure that this time-honored summertime tradition will bring plenty of smiles for years to come.

Ed Holpfer

Better Kids Institute Contributor