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3/21/20blog post

ABC's of bike safety during the COVID-19 quarantine

Are you ready to roll? Use the ABC quick check before heading out on a bike ride. 

By: Abbey Pettiford, community relations prevention coordinator

Parents, we know you are looking for ways to incorporate physical activity into your day with the kids out of school.  Family walks and bike rides can be a great way to get out of the house, exercise and keep a safe distance from others while we are self-isolating. As an avid cyclist and injury prevention expert at Dayton Children’s, I will be sharing some bike and pedestrian safety tips over the next few weeks to keep you and your family safe and active during this challenging time. 

Are you ready to roll? Use the ABC quick check before heading out on a bike ride. 

If you are like me, you probably only dig the bikes out of the garage once the weather gets warm.  Bikes that have been in storage for a few months may need some routine maintenance.  Here are some quick items to address before your family gets out and rides.  It’s called the ABC quick check. 

A - air.  Do you have enough air in your tires?  You can check this by pushing down on the tire.  If the tire has any give at all there definitely isn’t enough air.  Use a pump to fill the tire fully.  If your pump has a PSI (pounds per square inch) gauge (see photo right), check the side of the tire for the maximum PSI for that tire and only fill to the maximum level.  This is a great time to teach your kids how to fill up their tires.  You can even make it a math lesson by having your child figure out how big the minimum and maximum PSI range is for their bike tires.  After the tires are full, move on to check the rest of the bike, but before riding re-check the tire inflation. 

B- brakes.  Check to make sure coaster brakes (this an internal brake that stops the bike when you pedal backwards) will stop the bike by spinning the back wheel and applying the brake. If the bike has hand brakes check to see that the levers don’t hit the handlebars when squeezed. Lift one tire up at a time and spin it; squeeze the levers to see if the tire stops. The brake pads should be clean, straight and contact the rim of the tire fully.  

C- cranks, chains and cogs. To check these, grab the crank arms (these are the two circles that hold the chain and place and drive the bike forward) and try to wiggle side to side. There should be no movement. Spin the pedals and cranks to see if the chain drives the rear wheel. The chain should look like metal not rust or black gunk. If the bike has gears check to make sure the gear levers and derailleurs (gear-changing mechanism) work to shift the chain between gears.

Finally, make sure the seat and handlebars are tight and the proper height. Your family should take their first bike ride close to home, checking all bike features to make sure everything works well before heading out for a fun ride around the neighborhood.   

If you are looking for more information, fun lesson plans or tips for riding safely please visit Ohio Department of Transportation’s website: http://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Planning/ProgramManagement/HighwaySafety/ActiveTransportation/Pages/Education.aspx

updates on COVID-19

Please use our coronavirus information hub for resources and answers to frequently asked questions about Dayton Children's response to COVID-19. You can also call our COVID-19 parent hotline at 1-888-746-KIDS (5437) from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm for additional questions.