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Dos and don'ts for your child's bicycle safety

At McCoy & McCoy, we understand that it is important for your children to get exercise, but also to be safe. Riding a bicycle is one of the best forms of outdoor exercise for Hartford residents, but it also comes with many risks, especially near traffic.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that hundreds of bicyclists are killed across the country each year and thousands more are seriously injured. How can you teach your children good bicycle habits that may keep them safer on the roads? The following are a few "dos and don'ts" for you to talk to your children about.

Do:

Wear a bicycle helmet every time you get on your bike. Helmets greatly reduce the risk of a serious head injury in a crash.

Be sure to stay alert and watchful at all times. Watch for cars turning out of driveways and parking lots, as well as making turns at intersections. Look out for obstacles in your path, such as potholes, litter and other things that could cause you to fall.

Obey the rules of traffic. Your bicycle is a vehicle and you should ride it like you are a part of traffic. Stop at red lights, signal when you are turning and do not dart out into the street in front of cars or weave in and out of lanes.

Do not:

Do not be difficult to see. Instead of wearing dark or plain colors, wear something in bright neon or a reflective safety jacket. Make sure lights and reflectors on your bicycle can be seen.

Do not ride opposite the flow of traffic. Ride in the direction of traffic, which is safest because drivers do not expect to encounter a bicycle coming from the opposite direction.

Whenever possible, do not ride when it is dark. It is difficult for bicyclists to be seen at night, even with lights.

When you make sure your children understand what is expected of them when they ride their bikes, you may help them avoid accidents. Learn more about cyclist issues by visiting our bicycle accident page.

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