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Biking is becoming a popular activity for families when they travel as part of a

 

Biking can be a lot of fun, exploring the many bike trails that are now available in many cities and towns, backroading along country roads and many resorts offer bicycle rentals as a recreational activity.

Whether your family is taking bikes on vacation or renting bikes at a vacation destination, there are some safety precautions that all cyclists should be taught and rules of the road to follow to ensure that riding a bike is done safely.  It is also important that equipment be sized properly and worn by cyclists at all times.  

In addition to the safety tips we offer, consider attending a bike safety clinic that may be offered in your community. Zellers will host bike safety clinics for children and families all across Canada this spring. Contact your local Zellers for dates, times and to get a copy of the bike safety booklet.

Click on the List or Scroll the Page for Safety Tips:

Links for Safety Information

 Fitting a bike

Making sure that the equipment you use is fitted properly is an important part of safe cycling.  This is especially important for children.  Learning to ride on a bike that is too heavy or big, not fitted properly and even to small can cause of loss of balance and control.  Even parents need to ensure that the bike they use fits properly.  

You can tell if bike is the right fit if:

  • The rider can straddle the crossbar with both feet flat on the ground and have at least two to six inches of space between the bike and the rider, depending on your riding style.
  • The seat is high enough so the rider can sit on it and still be able to touch the ground with the balls of the feet, and so that the legs almost – but not quite – fully extend at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
  • The rider can comfortably reach the handlebars when sitting on the seat.
  • For safety reasons, children should be able to place feet flat on the ground when stopping.

See Travel News:  Tips From Canadian Tire for Outfitting your Child with the Right Bike and Accessories

 

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Safety Rules and Tips

It takes more than just skill to be a good cyclist. It also takes smarts – particularly when cycling on busy streets. It is important that parents teach their children the rules of the road.  It is also important that parents follow the rules of the road.  Teaching by example helps keep everyone safe.  Follow these safety tips:

  • See Bike Safety for bike safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Click here for Helmet fitting instructions and travel safety news about Helmet SafetyAlways wear a Helmet - In Ontario and many other areas anyone under 18 must wear an approved helmet - its the law  - even if it isn't the law and ensure that it is fitted properly - click on image for more information - see Tips From Safe Kids Canada to Encourage Children to Wear Helmets
  • Use proper hand signals - See Tips for Biking.
  • Before making a lane change, turn your head to do a shoulder check. First, make sure the lane your moving into is clear, do another shoulder check and then proceed.
  • Make eye contact with drivers to be sure you have been seen.
  • Children should always tell parents where they are going on their bikes.
  • Teach children to ride in safe areas - avoid parking lots, paths through wooded areas, secluded areas, loose gravel and busy roads.

  • Don’t ride beside trucks or other large vehicles and avoid heavy traffic.

  • Look well ahead. This way you can spot problems before they happen.

  • When you’re passing parked cars, if there’s room, ride as though the car doors were open.

  • Don’t ride too fast. When there’s a traffic jam or a lot of pedestrians, slow down.
  • Never ride with a passenger on the handle bars.
  • Don't let children ride at night.
  • Walk across cross-walks.
  • Never pull or get pulled by another bike, vehicle, rollerblader, etc.
  • Keep hands on handlebars.
  • Never wear headphones when riding a bike.
  • Ride in single file.
  • Avoid biking on rainy days.
  • Teach children to keep feet on pedals when riding.
  • Place both feet on the ground when stopped.
  • Stay on the right side of the road.  Do not swerve into lanes, even if empty.  
  • Be aware of driveways and lanes.  Look both ways and stop before crossing.  This is especially important to teach young children when they are learning to ride on sidewalks.
  • Watch for merging paths or lanes.  
  • Come to a complete stop at all stop signs and obey all other road signs.
  • Walk across busy intersections with the lights as a pedestrian.
  • Bikes are considered vehicles and must follow all rules of the road.
  • Bikes are not permitted on expressways or freeways.
  • Always ride in control.
  • Children riding in a bicycle cart, tandem or bike seat should also wear helmets.

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Bike Tune-up and Tools for the Road

Before taking the first bike ride of the season, the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada (BTAC) recommends a professional tune-up. After that, a quick safety inspection before every bike ride, to check the frame, wheels, gears, handlebars, brakes, seat and pedals will ensure everything is in good order. 

A portable tool kit and air pump strapped to a bike can be a saving grace when something goes wrong during a ride. 

Consider including the following items in a tool kit:

  • Spare inner tube - if travelling as a family, at least one spare tube for each bike tire size.
  • Tire irons
  • Patch kit
  • Money (spare change for emergency calls or a cab ride)
  • Chain tool (with a few spare links)
  • A set of Allen keys or a prepackaged tool kit
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Food (energy bars)
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen

All of these items can be stored in a bike bag or strapped to a bike rack, which fits underneath the seat, over the rear tire or over the handlebars.  Prepackaged kits can also be purchased.

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Cyclist Safety Gear

Cyclists, no matter how careful, can still be injured while riding.  Safety Gear can help reduce the severity of injuries as a result of a fall.  In addition to a helmet, which all cyclists should wear to protect against head injury (see Bike and Bike Helmet Safety and Tips From Safe Kids Canada to Encourage Children to Wear Helmets).  

Here is a list of gear that should be worn by cyclists:

  • Wear proper foot wear - running shoes and ensure laces are done up to avoid getting caught in chain.
  • Avoid pants with wide bottom legs that can get caught in chains.
  • Cycling gloves will absorb some of the impact in a fall and reduce injury to hands.
  • Reflective clothing should be worn, even during the day, just in case the ride goes into the evening or dusk hours.  
  • Bright clothing increases the chance of being seen by other cyclists and drivers.
  • Equip bike with horn, reflectors and a light.  
  • Have Sunglasses handy and wear them if it is sunny to protect eyes - children too - but look for shatterproof glasses.
  • Never Race other riders or vehicles.
  • Teach children to ride safely - no wheelies, keep hands and feet on bike (unless stopping of course - when both feet should be on the ground.
  • Apply sunscreen liberally and often - Click here to see Sun Safety Tips.

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Links to more Bike Safety Information

Many towns and cities have their own web site for bike safety tips and trail maps for planning a family bike ride.

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All tips are offered as suggestions only.  While we have tried to provide you with a list of suggestions to help parents when travelling with children to keep them safe, unfortunately, we can’t think of everything and it is the responsibility of parents to ensure their children’s safety.

Some Tips are adapted from information provided by News Canada

 

Sick Kids study shows bicycle helmet legislation leads to fewer bicycle-related head injuries in children

Click here for recall notice for helmets

AAA Reminds Motorists To Be Aware of Bicyclists

For Bikes, Helmets and More go to 

  Canadian Tire

 Click here for Travel News about Helmet Safety

Click here for information on Helmet Safety

Tips From Safe Kids Canada to Encourage Children to Wear Helmets

Click below for Travel News about Scooter Safety

Click here for travel news about Scooter Safety

Click below for In-line Skating Safety Tips

Click here for inline skating safety tips

Safety News - Summer Safety Warning - Press Release from Consumer Product Safety Commission

See the following sections for specific tips:

For General Travel Safety Tips Click on 

general safety tips for travel with children

For Pool Safety Tips Click on

For Safety Tips when visiting Petting Zoos and Animal Farms Click Below:

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For Car Safety Tips Click on

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For Hotel Safety Tips Click on

Hotel and Hotelroom Safety - tips for safety in hotel rooms, crib safety, elevator safety,

For Playground Safety Tips Click on

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For Fire Safety Tips Click on

Click here for Fire Safety Tips, Hotel and Hotel Room Fire Safety, Candles, Safe Pajamas and the Dangers of Matches and Lighters

For Winter Holiday Safety Tips Click on

Click here to view Winter Holiday Safety Tips

For Kids Club Safety Tips Click on

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For Sun Safety Tips Click on

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For Safety Tips - Severe Allergic Reactions Click on

Click here to view tips on Severe Allergic Reactions

For Safety Tips for Using Public Washrooms Click on

Click here for safety tips for Using Public Washrooms with young children

For First Aid Tips Click on

Click here to view First Aid Tips and What to pack in a first aid bag

For Tips on Buying Safe Toys Click Below:

Click here for tips on buying safe toys and using toys safely, links to toy safety sites

For Seasonal Holiday Safety Tips Click Below:

Click here to view Seasonal Holiday Safety Tips

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 Travel News - Safety Issues

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