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Bike and Small Wheeled Recreation Safety


​​Cycling, skateboarding, in-line skating, and riding a scooter are great ways to get around and keep fit. You can use smart risk strategies - Look First. We​ar the Gear. Get Trained. Buckle Up. Drive Sober - to prevent injuries so you can keep doing what you love to do.

Smart risk strategies for cycling

Look First

Always pay attention to the risks around you when riding your bike. ​Shoulder check each time you turn or move out to pass. Look for garbage, grates, or holes in the road that could make you swerve or crash. Wet or cold weather could affect the path, or your ability to ride.

Before each ride check your bike to make sure it is in proper working order. Do the ABC Quick Check:

  • A = Air - firm tires
  • B = Brakes - check that they work
  • C = Chain - tight, well-lubed

Wear the Gear

Protect your head. Bike helmets protect riders of all ages. It is the law in Alberta that anyone younger than 18 years must wear a helmet.

Important helmet tips:

  • Always wear a helmet that is right for the activity.
  • Make sure it meets current, approved helmet safety standards (for example: look for a CSA, Snell, or ASTM sticker).
  • Make sure it fits – it should be snug, level, and stable.
  • Replace your helmet every 5 years or after it has been in a crash.
  • Take the Bike Helmet YES Test.

You must be seen and heard. Reflective tape, reflectors, and lights make it easier to see you at night. Bright clothing catches people's attention in the daytime. Since bicycles are quiet, you should have a bell or horn on your bike.

Get Trained

Knowing how to ride a bike safely is not common sense. There are three basic rules of the road that all cyclists need to know and follow:

  1. Stop at all intersections.
  2. Look left, right, and left again before going ahead.
  3. Ride on the right.

Look for an organization or club that offers training in safe cycling for the road or for other terrains such as the mountains. This type of training is offered at most bike shops, recreation centres, etc. See what your community has to offer.

Drive Sober

Stay safe by paying attention when you are cycling. Don’t use alcohol or drugs when riding your bike. Be careful of distractions like using cell phones or listening to music.

Small wheeled recreation

In-line skating is great for your heart and helps develop balance and coordination. As in-line skating has increased, so have the injuries.

Skateboarding is popular with 10 to 17 year olds. You need good balance and control for this activity, yet many young skateboarders don’t have the balance or strength needed to react quickly to dangerous situations. Broken arms are the most common injury to skateboards. Concussions are also common.

As with cycling, take smart risks while in-line skating and skateboarding - like look first, wear the gear, and get trained - to reduce the chance of an injury, and keep the fun in wheeled recreation.

Smart risk strategies for small wheeled recreation

Look First

  • Check the equipment to make sure it’s working.
  • Pay attention to the traffic. Manage other risks in the environment.
  • Plan ahead for wet or cold weather that might affect your activity.

Wear the Gear

Protect your head by wearing a helmet that is right for the activity:

  • Sports-specific helmets are recommended for activities like skateboarding. Skateboarding helmets cover the back of the head and are designed to protect against more than one impact.
  • Multi-sport helmets meet safety standards for more than one activity.
  • Make sure your helmet meets current, approved helmet safety standards (e.g., look for a CSA, Snell, or ASTM sticker).
  • Keep your helmet buckled up.

Wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads are also important protective equipment for small wheeled recreation.

Get Trained

Take lessons to learn how to skate, stop, and fall safely when in-line skating or skateboarding. Call your local sporting goods retailer or recreation department to see if they offer lessons.


Current as of: February 7, 2018

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services