Your little girl wants a new bike. It simply has to be pink and sparkly. Maybe it’s your little boy who wants a new bike. He’s looking for something that a super hero would be proud to ride. You head off to the store, let the kids pick out a bike they like and head home. You’ve possibly just made a mistake.
Bicycles are not one-size-fits-all. While we certainly want to make our children happy, it doesn’t make good sense to choose a bicycle based on looks alone. Just as an adult chooses a bike based on size, weight and gears, a child’s bike must be chosen in the same way to ensure optimal safety. Here is what to look for if you are planning on making your child’s wishes for a new bicycle come true.
The first thing to consider is the size of the bike. In the United States, bicycles are based on the size of the tires. If you choose a big that is too small or too large for your child, it will be difficult for them to ride correctly.
When choosing a bike, consider tire size. A 12″ bike will be best suited to a 2 or 3-year-old, while a 24″ bike will be suitable for an 8 to 11-year-old. Along with tire size, you want your child to straddle the bike. Hold the bike steady and have your child get on the seat. If this is your child’s first bike, their feet should be flat on the ground while they are sitting straight up. If it is a second bike, or beyond, their tippy toes should touch the ground while they are sitting on the seat.
Don’t buy a bicycle based on tire size alone. There can be as much as a four-inch variance in seat heights among bikes with the same size tires. If you don’t have your child with you while shopping for their bike, this is a good guide:
Did you know that children’s bikes are often heavier than adult bikes when compared to the rider’s own weight? A typical adult bike weighs 20 percent or less of an adult’s weight. A typical child’s bike weighs half that of a child. Keep weight in mind when considering a bike for your little one. Ideally, the bike should weigh no more than 40 percent of your child’s total weight. Remember, though, that some manufacturers give up features in an attempt to make lightweight bikes. Don’t forego hand brakes or properly-sized frames simply to get a light bike.
Your child may want a bike that looks like a chopper, long-handlebars and all, but this may not be the safest option. For the average child, a bike with a mid-rise handlebar is optimal. Low-rise bars can position the child too far forward, creating strain on the neck and back. A high-rise bar can limit control.
The type of brakes on the bike you choose is really up to you and your child. For many kids, learning to ride a bike with coaster brakes is difficult because children tend to naturally pedal backwards when they begin to lose their balance. For other kids, handbrakes are difficult to control due to a lack of hand-eye coordination.
Let your child try out both brake types and see which they can operate the safest. Your child should be able to stop quickly if the need arises, without putting themselves in harm’s way.
We can’t provide tips to you and ignore price. This will obviously be a factor in your decision. Don’t feel as though you have to buy the most expensive bike on the market, but you should buy the best bike you can afford. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on local garage sales or used-merchandise websites. This can allow you to buy a used bike that has the safety features you are looking for without breaking the bank.
If you or your child are involved in a bicycle accident in West Palm Beach, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and property damage. Reach out to Steinger, Iscoe & Greene today for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and advise you of the options available to you and your family under current Florida law. Call now or browse our website for more information about our firm.