For some the cycling season may soon be coming to a close, but for those Down Under the season is just starting…and of course, there are some hard-core cyclists who will continue throughout the winter; either rolling on through -40C weather, or who live in climates where it doesn’t get below zero too often. Whether your cycling enthusiasts are 7, 42, or 74, safety must always be something to think of ahead of time for after an incident it is, of course, too late. Today I’m going to share some cycling safety tips with you for all ages.
This post contains affiliate links from which I may receive a small commission. Thank you to SJ Works for providing us with First Aid Bike Kits.
Often times one just wants to get out on the open road and enjoy the wind in your hair as you cycle. However, safety knowledge has increased and you should no longer have that feeling if you are sensible and wear a helmet. My husband, Phil, knows that all too well after he was run off the road on his commute to work last summer. Thankfully, he was wearing a helmet and it was this helmet that was cracked and not his skull. He picked himself up and continued on to work until lunchtime when a colleague drove him home. Where he stayed for the next three weeks suffering from a concussion, scrapes, bruising, and soreness. I hate to think what could have happened if Phil hadn’t been wearing his helmet to cushion and protect his skull and brain….
Our children are growing up always having worn a helmet; whereas Phil’s only been wearing one a couple of years, and since I haven’t been on a bike since I was living in Japan, I have never worn a helmet. It’s a safer world for cyclists of all ages, and as earth-friendly travel is becoming more commonplace (at the same time, unfortunately, as there are more vehicles on the road), bicycle safety is an important topic.
10 Cycling Safety Tips For All Ages
1. Remember that confidence takes time! Some children (and adults) may feel more confident than they really are, while others will feel uneasy and unstable for some time after they look stable and confident. Remind them to challenge themselves while at the same time knowing their limits and weighing up any consequences.
2. Learn how to signal – and this goes for adults as well! I always notice when there’s a cyclist on the road who lets drivers know what they plan to do. It makes the road a safer place for everyone. And if you’re driving a vehicle, this goes for you, too – signal so that other road and sidewalk users know your intentions.
3. Ride in designated cycle lanes when they’re available. Sometimes these are on the road surface, while at other times they’re marked off on sidewalks/footpaths. And don’t forget to keep these areas clear when you’re in a vehicle or out walking…not doing so can be dangerous for all (see my cycling adventure in Japan).
4. Kit up your bike with a working bell, lights on both the front and back, as well as a good dose of reflective materials (tape, stickers, reflectors), and don’t forget to also make yourself visible from the sides as well as the front and back.
5. Clothing is also an important part of cycling.
- Make sure it’s light in colour so it’s more visible (jackets, shoes, and backpacks with reflective strips are great)…note to self…buy Tristan a new jacket next year for cycling!
- Make sure no part of your clothing will catch on any part of your bike.
- Make sure you are able to hear and see well if you have a hat or hood on.
6. Keep your bike in good maintenance. Preventative upkeep is key. It isn’t very difficult and even children can learn how to check their tires and oil a chain. There are plenty of life-skills involved here! My children had fun putting together a bike kit for Phil for Father’s Day, but this would be equally fun any day as a surprise for either adults or children.
7. As I mentioned above, helmets are simply a must. Children will outgrow them, just as they outgrow the rest of their clothes, so ensure the helmet fits them well throughout the year, and factor the cost of purchasing new helmets into your yearly budget.
8. Ensure children know the rules of the road for every situation, not just cycling. Sometimes learning things like this can be a bore, but check out Tales Of The Road, which has some great resources for parents, as well as some fun games and information for kids.
9. Ensure your children know their skills well before taking them out away from home. It’s better to be near the comforts of home when learning to ride than miles away in unfamiliar surroundings. Set up little courses for kids to practice with to keep them learning and having fun. This is how we started, and the kids still like using this method for a change of pace, now.
10. Carry a first aid kit with you when you go out cycling. They’re now available from SJ Works and Amazon in 3 designs so you’ll be sure to find one to fit your bike. Super Joan sent us two kits; one for Phil to use on his commute to work, as well as another that fits on Tristan’s bike for when the kids are out with me.
Have a look inside these kits; you’ll see they’re filled with the basics and there’s room to spare for you to add your own items as well (think inhalers, emergency antihistamine, boo-boo stickers, emergency contact numbers, etc.). In fact, these kits include (contents may vary slightly depending on the kit):
- American Red Cross First Aid Guide
- 6 Antiseptic Towelettes
- 5 Bandages 3 x 1″
- 5 Bandages 3 x .75″
- 5 Junior Bandages 1.5 x 3/8″
- 5 Butterfly wound closures
- 2 Sterile non-adherent pads 2 x 3″
- 2 Sterile non-woven sponges 2 x 2″
- 1 Sterile eye pad
- 1 Pressure Bandage 2 x 2″
- 1 Pressure Bandage 3 x 3″
- 1 Triangular Bandage 42 x 42 x 59″
- 1 First aid tape roll 1/2″ x 10 yrds
- 1 Emergency blanket 38 x 60″
- 1 SJ Works reflective strip
They fit easily onto the bikes using the velcro strips sewn right onto the kits. Tristan’s kit didn’t fit where it was intended to go under his seat, but we were able to find a spot for it that works well. In addition to the under-seat design, they come in one to fit under the front cross bar, or near the handle bars, which is where Phil’s kit lives.
Phil’s case is designed so that it can hold a mobile phone which could be handy for using a map or GPS; although I wouldn’t recommend using earphones with it as it’s important to be able to hear what’s going on around you.
Now that everyone is prepared for an accident (and remember, it’s not just you that may benefit from carrying a first aid kit; you may come across someone else who is in need), I feel better. I’ve been carrying some form of first aid kit with me almost at all times for years…you just never know when it might come in handy. Think of it as a piece of insurance and peace of mind.