We’ve recently heard about a drastic increase in the number of cycling-related head injuries to children in Glasgow.
As explained in an article
in the Glasgow Herald, the Royal Children’s Hospital in the city has seen 18 children admitted during lockdown alone – five more than in the whole of 2019.
We believe this could be indicative of a wider issue across the UK, although we don’t yet have any data to confirm whether this pattern is being repeated.
It’s not cars that are the problem in this instance, as 16 of the 18 cases highlighted involved no other vehicle.
The majority of these types of accident actually happen at very low speed, when the child either falls off their bike or crashes into an object.
The lockdown period – in which the schools have been closed and roads quieter – will have seen many more families getting out and about on their bikes more regularly, including very young children, some of whom will be cycling for the first time in their lives, or for the first time for a while.
This means their skills and appreciation of risk have yet to be learnt, or are rusty, which can lead to increased injury rates.
We think it’s amazing that so many more people are getting on their bikes, and so many young people may now be starting a lifetime of cycling, with all the health and environmental benefits that will bring, but we need to ensure they are properly protected when riding.
Here are a few tips on how you can maximise the enjoyment and minimise the risk:
- Carry out a regular safety check (tyres at the correct pressure, brakes working and nothing loose like spokes, saddle or handlebars). We have a video and checklist to help you
- Wearing a cycle helmet will help provide protection to the head in the event of a collision or falling off (remember to replace if damaged). Please follow the manufacturer’s fitting instructions
- Make sure you’re not wearing any loose clothing or shoe laces, which could become tangled in the chain or wheels
- Parents should ride with children to their competence and ability. Get them to demonstrate that they can safely control their bike and deal with other traffic
- For older children, if they are riding away from home plan the route with them; use cycle tracks and avoid busy roads and junctions if possible.
You can find loads more information on our advice for cyclists page
Nick Lloyd, head of road safety
Posted: 6/24/2020 10:35:00 AM