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Bike and Small Wheeled Recreation Safety

Cycling, skateboarding, inline skating, and scooter safety for youth

​​​​​​​​​​​​Cycling, skateboarding, in-line skating (rollerblading), and riding a scooter are great ways to get around and keep fit. But to do them safely, you need good balance, control, strength, and judgement.

Many youth don’t yet have the skills to react quickly to danger. This puts youth at higher risk of injuries (like a broken arm or a concussion) during these activities.

Use these strategies to lower your risk of injuries

Safety tips for cycling​

Pay attention to the risks around you

  • Look over your shoulder (called a shoulder check) each time you turn or move out to pass.
  • Look for garbage, grates, or holes in the road that could make you turn quickly (swerve) or crash.
  • Be aware that wet or cold weather can make roads and other surfaces slippery or hard to ride on.

Do the ABC quick check

  • Air – Check that your tires are firm.
  • Brakes - Check that your brakes work.
  • Chain – Check that the chain is tight and gliding well (well lubed).

Learn the rules of riding a bike safely

  • Take bike safety training to learn how to ride safely on the road, on bike trails, and in the mountains. Bike shops, recreations centres, and other community groups may offer this training.
  • Stop at all intersections (the point where 2 roads meet).
  • Look left, right, and left again before going through an intersection.
  • Ride on the right side of the road.
  • Don’t use alcohol or other drugs before or when riding your bike.
  • Don’t ride when you’re tired or distracted (such as listening to music or looking at your cell phone).

Use protective gear

Protect your head by wearing a bike helmet that fits. Bike helmets protect riders of all ages. In Alberta, you must wear a helmet when riding a bike if you’re younger than 18. Learn how to wear a helmet properly and other helmet tips.

It’s also important that others see and hear you. It helps to:

  • Use reflective tape, reflectors, and lights so others see you easier at night.
  • Wear bright clothes.
  • Have a bell or horn on your bike to let others know when you’re getting close to them.

Safety tips for skateboarding, inline skating, and scootering​

Pay attention to the risks around you

  • Pay attention to traffic.
  • Avoid skating and riding your scooter on city streets, public sidewalks, and parking lots.
  • Don’t skate or ride your scooter in the dark or wet weather. Wet or cold weather can make surfaces slippery or hard to ride on.
  • Don’t get towed by bicycles or motor vehicles.
  • Don’t go too fast if you’re not experienced, or in wet or slippery conditions.

Learn and practise

  • Take lessons to learn how to ride, stop, and fall safely. Call a local skateboard store or your local recreation centre to see if they offer lessons.
  • Practise balance and co-ordination before trying complicated tricks.
  • If you lose your balance and are about to fall, crouch down and try to land on the fleshy parts of your body and roll instead of absorbing the force with your arms.

Use protective gear

  • Wear the right helmet for the activity. Some multi-sport helmets meet safety standards for more than one activity. There are also helmets just for skateboarding. Choose a helmet that covers the back of your head and protects against more than one impact. Learn how to wear a helmet properly and other helmet tips
  • Check your skateboard, inline skates, and scooter to make sure all the parts are working.
  • Wear wrist guards when skateboarding and inline skating. They can help prevent broken bones and sprains.
    • Don’t wear wrist guards while scootering as it may interfere with controlling the scooter
    • Elbow pads and knee pads may also help prevent injuries when skateboarding, inline skating and scootering, but we don’t know how much protection they give.

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Current as of: September 16, 2021

Author: Injury Prevention, Alberta Health Services