This week, I finally got to order new bike safety gear from my wish list for me and my toddler. We own a yellow Trek bike trailer with a tall orange safety flag, but needed to get a few items to boost our safety when riding.
Bike safety gear can have a relatively low cost when you think about the expected lifetime of the products, and of the amount of use you can get out of them, but starting up is sometimes expensive. I still ride a bike I received as a gift over 10 years ago. It actually just had some repairs done a few months ago. I haven’t had to put much money into it, but have received a LOT of use from it!
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I had a helmet I received for free at a safety event, but I noticed a small crack a few months ago (I think from my last accident). It was rather old and needed replaced, anyway. It also didn’t have the MIPS system that I wanted in both new helmets. My toddler didn’t have a helmet at all, so I haven’t been able to take her out in the trailer beyond riding in our yard.
I’d been debating what to spend her birthday and first Christmas Amazon gift cards on. Toys? She has enough. Clothes? I can get good-value items at consignment.
My husband and I finally decided to put them towards bike safety gear. I also had a gift card for my birthday. So finally, on Tuesday, I ordered some new gear. All but one item were here by Thursday! Because of the gift cards, I only owed about $30.
Bike safety gear
I chose four items to prioritize: A helmet for my toddler, a replacement helmet for myself, reflective tape for the trailer and possibly my helmet, and a flashing light for the back of the trailer. Some trailer models have areas, like loops, specifically designed to add lights. Others require a little creativity.
While my trailer has a tall orange safety flag (like this one) and is bright yellow, I still wasn’t satisfied. I got the flashing light for the back of the trailer and reflective tape to add. I don’t plan on riding with my kid at night, but just in case, it’s a simple, inexpensive way to boost visibility. A flashing light can add visibility in the daytime, too, especially if it’s overcast.
I ordered the Giro Chronicle MIPS helmet for myself. I was eager to try it on, and it fits PERFECTLY. It feels very secure on my head. They have a lot of colors to choose from. Lime green isn’t my favorite color, but it’s very visible.
I received all of it by Thursday and immediately tested the light and checked the fit of the helmet. They were great.
The only item I didn’t receive immediately was the Giro Scamp MIPS helmet I ordered for my daughter.
Originally, her helmet wasn’t going to be delivered until April 16, but now Amazon says it should be here by Wednesday! I’m excited to try it on her. She keeps asking to wear my “hat.”
Just like a “normal” helmet, one with MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) gives you no guarantees that you’ll get through an accident. But there is research that supports the use of them. Regular helmets can help with the effects of linear impact, but MIPS is also designed to help protect against rotational impact.
While there’s no guarantee, I want to get the best bike safety gear I can get, especially for my toddler. If a MIPS helmet means that there’s a better chance we’ll get home safely, then that’s what we’ll get. We saved up a little longer to make sure we could both get MIPS helmets rather than buying a somewhat less expensive non-MIPS helmet and replacing them soon afterwards.
Bike horns are almost essential for safety, and in my town, they’re required if you’re going to ride within the city limits. (If you aren’t sure what the law is like in your city and/or state, you can typically Google “__Your_State___ bike laws” to get the statutes. Often, you’ll see sites that put it into layman’s terms or explain the different ways it can be interpreted. Many, though not all, towns and counties will list their ordinances online, as well.)
I also need to get a white light for the front of my bike. I wanted to try out the one I just ordered first, and it looks easy to attach and it’s very bright. Since it has different modes with red and white light, I can order the same model to use as a headlight. The one I just received will be used as a flashing light on the back of the trailer. Not only is it bright, but it comes with a charging cable and charges via USB.
I need to double-check my trailer, but I believe I have a place where I can install a second flag, so I’ll probably add another one. One should be enough, but it doesn’t really hurt to add one more way to be seen.
At some point soon, I’ll get a bright, reflective safety vest. I already have bright tops and reflective tape, plus a long-sleeve athletic jersey with a high-visibility orange-striped back, so it’s not as much of a priority for me.
I can always find new gear (for biking, camping, hiking, canoeing, fishing, etc.) to buy! The trick for me to is look at the riders (single or with a child in a trailer), where we’ll be riding (on quiet streets, greenways or other off-road paths) and what the traffic situation is like. You may have other factors to consider. Then I prioritize our needs, heavily research the brands and products and make my selection.
I’ve loved cycling since I was little. I’m happy that my daughter can experience it at an even younger age through her trailer. It’s a healthy exercise for the whole family, and a perfect way to help integrate Blue Zones lifestyle principles into your life.
Do you or your child have a birthday or other holiday coming up soon? Maybe you can ask for a MIPS helmet or other safety gear!
What bike safety gear– or other outdoor recreation gear– do you own? What’s on your wishlist?