Bad habits

Family Biking: A safe cycling self check-up (Part 1) – BikePortland.org

Summary

Blinky lights are key to our safe cycling arsenal. (Photos: Shannon Johnson/BikePortland)

After our recent visits to some ‘traffic gardens’ to practice bike skills and signalling, I’ve been thinking more about bike safety with our family and asking a lot of questions:

– How can we improve our family bicycle and traffic safety?

– What are our safety weaknesses or bad habits?

– What skills do we need to t…….

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Blinky lights are key to our safe cycling arsenal.
(Photos: Shannon Johnson/BikePortland)

After our recent visits to some ‘traffic gardens’ to practice bike skills and signalling, I’ve been thinking more about bike safety with our family and asking a lot of questions:

– How can we improve our family bicycle and traffic safety?

– What are our safety weaknesses or bad habits?

– What skills do we need to teach and practice with our children?

– And what potentially dangerous situations do we confront that we can better prepare ourselves for?

Now seems to be a good time for a self-check of our safety practices, especially as rain, leaves and early darkness pose additional dangers. Here’s what we’re doing, thinking, learning, and working on:

Always Wear a Helmet: Check.

Always Wear a Helmet Properly: Oof!

He’s laughing, but a poor-fitting helmet isn’t funny.

I confess: We have some helmet fit problems. When I honestly examine this basic tenet of bicycle safety, I am humbled to admit that I have been failing with two of my children. They wear helmets, yes, but they haven’t been wearing them properly. My kids are sort of wearing their helmets. That seems like a victory! But the pavement won’t provide softer cushion because we got our helmets halfway on.

For my oldest son, the tightening strap is broken and doesn’t maintain a snug fit, so he needs a new helmet, pronto. I’m also having helmet trouble with my four-year-old who has very thick bangs. We’ve tried multiple helmets and he always wears them pushed too far back on his head. When I try to secure the helmet properly on his forehead, he bursts into tears, saying it’s too tight. Honestly, we just keep failing to get a correct and comfortable fit for him. Finally, I’ve decided to order a skater-style helmet (dual-certified for use with bicycles and skateboards), to see if we can get a more comfortable fit with a different style of helmet. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Lights and visibility:

I really hadn’t expected to need this. I didn’t think we’d be doing any biking in darkness or poor visibility conditions (like rain), but we have already been caught out at dusk, lingering at the library or park longer than intended, then racing the sunset to get home before total darkness shrouded us in a cloak of dangerous invisibility.

To lighten ourselves up, we made a trip to the bike shop to pick up a handful of blinky lights and headlights. We’re also trying to improve our clothing choices. I originally bought a rain poncho in a stylish and subdued …….

Source: https://bikeportland.org/2021/11/17/family-biking-a-safe-cycling-self-check-up-part-1-341386