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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

Bicycle Safety for Children in Illinois

by Jared Staver in Personal Injury

Bicycling is a healthy and fun activity for children of all ages, and everyone is encouraged to use cycling as alternate transportation with children. However, teaching your children to be safe on bikes is a must before you can ever consider bicycling together on the road. A Chicago bike accident can cause life-altering injuries and even death. We’ve gathered recommended equipment for children riding bikes, along with tips and rules for safe cycling.

Bike Safety Equipment for Children

It is recommended that children wear helmets at all times when riding on a bike. Other recommended safety equipment includes:

  • A front light visible for 500 feet,
  • A clear front reflector,
  • Red rear reflectors visible from at least 100 feet,
  • Wheel-mounted side reflectors,
  • Reflector pedals,
  • Horns or bells that can be heard up to 100 feet away,
  • Properly adjusted brakes,
  • Smooth-transitioning gears, and
  • Securely attached handlebars and accessories.

Rules for Safe Cycling for Children

While your child’s bike needs to be safe and well-equipped, it is just as important to teach your child the rules of the road for using bikes safely. The following are the most important laws and general safety tips that you must make sure your child knows before ever getting on a bike.

  • Obey all traffic laws in the same way that cars do. In Illinois, bikes have to follow all signals, signs, and other traffic laws that would apply to other vehicles. This applies even on small streets.
  • You can ride on sidewalks where it is permitted. It is often safer for young children to ride on the sidewalk in some areas. Generally, local ordinances establish where you can and cannot ride on the sidewalk. When it is allowed, it is a safe choice for kids. Just remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way, so your children need to be extra careful around other people. Also, as your children mature, remember that cycling on the road becomes the safer option.
  • Learn and use arm signals. They are required in order to let other drivers know what you will be doing.
  • Always ride in a single-file line. Although it can seem safer to ride next to your children to further protect them from traffic, it is not allowed by law in Illinois. Never ride alongside other bikes when on roadways.
  • Bicycle racing is not allowed on highways. While racing can be fun exercise, make sure to only do it on designated bike paths where it is permitted.
  • Never pull someone on a bike or carry them is there is no seat. Use your bike only in the way intended. It is not a towing device. If there is no seat for another person, any other child needs his or her own bike.
  • Avoid riding at night even if you have lights and reflectors. It is safer to limit cycling to daytime hours when it is easier for cars to see small children.
  • Respect the road and other drivers. Remind your children that all drivers of other vehicles, other cyclists, and pedestrians deserve respect and courtesy. When everyone follows the rules of the road and respects one another, everyone will be mush safer.

As you take advantage of the last of the warm weather before winter finally sets in this year, make sure that you and your children are following these rules at all times.

If you or your child has been hurt in a Chicago cycling accident, please give us a call. One of our experienced personal injury lawyers can go over the details of your situation in a free legal consultation.