Eight Steps to Safe Bike Riding


By Marti Little

Tyler Little

Even into the later part of this year, the weather has been good for bike rides and it is one of the things my children like to do best. They like the freedom of going down to the end of the street and back to our house.  Even though they are only going a few hundred yards from our driveway, it seems like miles to them.

Our daughter was a natural with riding the bike. When we decided to take the training wheels off, we only had to give her a push and she was on her way.  With Tyler, we aren’t as willing to give that push. Safety with him is a bigger issue, and balance is an issue, too. Tyler has a profound unilateral hearing loss. He can’t hear in one ear yet he has normal hearing in the other ear. He can’t tell where sound is coming from in his environment. So whereas my daughter may hear a car approaching from a distance, Tyler won’t.

So how can we keep him safe?

Make sure he realizes that he needs to wear his helmet every time he’s on his bike, just like using a seatbelt in the car.  

  1. Adding mirrors to the handle bars, giving the ability to easily see what’s behind him on the road.
  2. Teaching him to stop at intersections and look both ways to ensure a road is safe to cross.
  3. Signing him up for a course on bike safety: a great way to reinforce what we’ve taught him.
  4. Making sure he is wearing bright colors when he rides so that other people can see him.
  5. Letting your neighbors know that your child has a hearing loss so that they slow down on the residential streets. You may also qualify for a sign in your neighborhood to alert drivers.
  6. Riding with a child in an area with more traffic or noise.
  7. Using lights and reflectors for riding at night.

Honestly, I don’t see any reason not to follow these steps with everyone in the family. These are all ideas that can help any child or parent stay safer. I’m not sure I’m ready to take the training wheels off for Tyler, just yet.  I’ll see how it goes with a few more sunny days of riding experience, and then maybe I’ll just wrap him in bubble wrap to keep him safe.

Inspired from a discussion on the Unilateral Hearing Loss Yahoo Group, and the author’s Blog Hearing Loss and Family with permission. 

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