Kids usually get their first taste of freedom when they learn to ride a bicycle. But ill-fitting equipment and traffic put riders at risk for falls, sprains, strains, and more serious cycling injuries.
Simple adjustments to their bikes and helmets, plus learning the rules of the road and other important bicycle safety tips, can help your young riders avoid injury.
If a bike isn't the correct size — either too high or too low — cyclists can suffer repetitive or overuse injuries in the:
The experts at UPMC Sports Medicine's Young Athlete Program can work with your pediatrician to evaluate and aggressively treat your young biker's injury to help prevent more serious long-term effects.
In order to prevent head injuries, a helmet must fit properly and follow the eyes, ears, and mouth rule:
Proper fit doesn't stop with the helmet. The bike must fit the rider, too.
One of the more common mistakes is buying a bike a child can "grow in to," which may be economical, but it's not safe. The young rider will have a tough time controlling a bike that's too large.
There should be one to two inches of clearance between the rider's crotch and the bicycle's top tube when the rider is straddling the bike flat-footed. For a girl's bike, imagine that there is a top tube extending horizontally from the front of the bike and measure from there.
In addition to having properly fitting equipment, all bikers can benefit from hip, thigh, and calf strengthening to prevent wear and tear on muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
UPMC Sports Medicine's Cycling Performance program can help young bikers improve leg strength and reduce their risk of injury.
These rules will help you ensure the safety of your young bike rider. Always model and teach proper behavior. Learn the rules of the road and obey traffic laws.
To schedule an appointment with a physician or other Sports Medicine expert, call 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).
UPMC Rooney Sports Complex
3200 S. Water St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex
8000 Cranberry Springs Drive
Cranberry Township, PA 16066