Bike Safety

I don’t remember how old I was when I learned to ride a bike. But I remember my neighbor pushing me across our front lawn. When I fell off, my Toughskins absorbed the grass stains. Eventually I got the hang of it, and pedaled around the neighborhood looking to take it off any sweet jumps.

The only safety precaution I followed was not riding in the street. I had to wait a few more years before I could officially do that. But until then, I was content riding on the sidewalk and across my neighbors lawn which didn’t go over well when I learned how fun it was to skid across wet grass. That summer, their lawn looked like a driving range.


Look ma, no helmet! I put that bell to good use whenever someone dared use the sidewalk when I was out out riding my Stingray.

I never wore a helmet. I never owned helmet, unless you count my Houston Astros baseball cap. Sometimes I’d pedal around in flip flops. I never gave much thought to safety. Maybe I should have, but I’m sure I wasn’t much different from most kids who grew up in the 70’s.

If I allowed my kids to ride around like I did, I’d have family services knocking at my door within minutes.

My son looks like a hockey goalie riding his bike around our cul-de-sac. It’s surprising he has enough energy to pedal while sporting a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads. I’ve even seen him wearing gloves! He spends more time getting ready to ride his bike than actually riding his bike.

Twenty years from now, will we watch kids ride down the sidewalk in full body armor?

Is my son safer than I was at his age? I’d like to think he is although I don’t believe he’s getting nearly as much exercise as I did as a kid. What child wants to spend 15 minutes pulling, strapping and adjusting gear (that never quite fits like it should) to pedal 100 yards down the street? No thanks, I’ll just stay here on the couch with my Nintendo DS and bag of Cheetos.

I don’t know how many times I’ve watched my son pull up the driveway with his helmet pushed over his eyes or his kneepads dangling at his feet.

At least when I was riding around in my flip flops and swimsuit I could see where I was going.

6 thoughts on “Bike Safety

  1. Those were the days, helmet? yeah right. I remember watching the Olympics and Tour de France, which inspired me to go out on my bike as fast as I can leaning into the corners like a real biker. I only crashed twice, lost some blood and a lot of skin, but I'm still alive. Did my parents make me wear a helmet after? No, they bought me a better faster 10 speed to replace my Huffy. Which I later crashed after watching the 1984 Olympics.


  2. i can't even tell you how many times I've found Grayson happily riding around our complex with flip flops and no helmet. I do tell him to go put shoes on if he's going to be riding his bike and sometimes I remember the helmet, sometimes.


  3. I think it is a Washington (NW) thing. When we lived up there we ALWAYS made sure the kids wore helmets. But after we moved down here to Utah we noticed that most kids didn't wear helmets when riding around the neighborhood. Really freaked us out at first, but now we have relented and rarely make them wear them as they don't get too far (right now). Interesting the different geographical perspectives on this subject…


  4. I totally remember growing up and riding our stingrays down long hills with the wind racing through our long hair and riding with no hands. Those were the days – what a totally awesome feeling! I recently read someones comments that they find it a wonder that kids these days can even balance on a bike with all the gear they strap on before they eve take a single peddle. We might have got a few scrapes and bruises, but we were able to enjoy the experience a lot more! 🙂 I recently wrote a book all about growig up in the '70s that you might enjoy. Same ideas about all we had/didn't have vs. kids today. Check it out at


  5. I remember shooting this photo in front of Mom & Dad's home. They would not let a kid ride a bike on that street now.


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