Wrecking safely

Hi Lee- I’m a CSU, Chico student. I’m TRYING to write a lesson plan for fourth graders about bicycle safety. My subject is how to wreck with the least amount of injuries.

My inspiration was my son. He had his helment on, got squirrely and dove off of the bike face first into the asphalt, busted three of his permanent teeth and his lip. He now wears a BMX helmet with the face guard! I don’t want to give the same old “wear your helmet” speech in my lesson plan because obviously you can still get injured.

So, I thought I could teach them the best way to land when they are wrecking. I have not had much luck finding any official websites or videos with this information. Do you know of any? I’d really appreciate any information you have.

Thanks so much,

Hi Shauna,

Crazy timing: I just turned in the manuscript for Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, 2nd Edition — and there’s an entire chapter on injury avoidance.

The biggest thing, especially for kids, is learning to tumble off the bike. This is straight out of gymnastics and martial arts. Basically:

– Land on your feet.
– Bend your knees to absorb the main impact.
– Cover your face and hold your arms in.
– Roll onto your shoulder (or shoulders).
– Let your body roll over. Don’t fight this. Let yourself roll as many times as it takes.
– Finish on your feet. Find your bike. Rip it!

I think the kids would have fun with tumbling drills. Start very mellow and work your way up. Look into gymnastics instruction progressions.

Also, check out this action from our friend James Wilson, mountain bike trainer to the stars:


If that’s how you “crashed,” imagine how confident you’d be!

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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