For many Houston-area residents, the first day of school has arrived! Hopefully, cooler fall weather will soon follow — along with more outdoor activities for you and your family.

Riding a bike is a great way for kids to get exercise and have fun. But every year, approximately 300,000 children in the U.S. are taken to emergency rooms as a result of bike accident injuries. Of these, at least 10,000 end up in a hospital for several days, and some of the injuries can even be fatal.

Whether your kids are riding their bikes to school, with friends around the neighborhood, or on a family outing, safe riding practices are vital. These 7 bicycle safety tips from Schechter, Shaffer & Harris will put you and your loved ones on the right path.

1. Always wear a helmet: Without a helmet, a bicycle accident can result in a brain injury, which Texas bicycle accident lawyers know can be serious and even potentially life-threatening. A properly fit helmet will ride low on the forehead, with two fingers-width between the helmet and eyebrows.

2. Fit bicycle to the rider: For your child (or anyone else) to operate a bike safely, the bike must be the right fit. When the rider stands over the bike, there should be 1 to 2 inches between him or her and the top tube (bar) for a road bike; there should be 3 to 4 inches if it’s a mountain bike. The bicycle seat should be level from front to back and height adjusted to allow for a slight bend in the knee when the rider’s leg is fully extended. Handlebars should be level with the bike seat.

3. Practice, practice, practice: Being a more skilled bike rider will make your kids safer riders. Have them practice in parking lots that are empty or on streets with no traffic. Skills that should be practiced include riding in a straight line, looking over your shoulder to check traffic, signaling with hands, and stopping.

4. Following the rules of the road: Your child should be taught the proper traffic rules to follow when riding a bicycle. Always go with the flow of traffic, riding on the right side in the same direction as other vehicles. Obey traffic laws, signals and signs, and always yield to traffic when appropriate.

5. Dress for success: Texas bicycle accident attorneys suggest making yourself as visible as possible to motorists when riding. Bike riders of any age should wear bright colors during the day, as well as just before sunrise and sunset.

6. Be alert: Make sure your kids use eyes AND ears when riding. Look out for road hazards such as potholes and wet patches, and listen for cars. Texas bicycle accident attorneys know one of the easiest ways to have an accident is to not be aware of your surroundings. Because of this, headphones should never be worn while riding a bike.

7. Night riding: Riding a bicycle at night can be dangerous and should be done in the company of an adult. Before night riding, equip the bike with a white light on the front and red reflector on the back. Lights and reflective materials are also available for shoes, helmets and clothing.

The Houston car accident lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers wish you and your family many safe and fun road trips this fall. While we hope that you won’t need us, if you or a loved one is injured in a bike accident with a vehicle, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our attorneys are always available to advise you of your rights and help you determine the right legal action to take.