The calendar may still say spring, but summer cycling season is officially upon us — and that’s something to celebrate.

Biking is a great way to get outdoors, get some exercise and soak up the warmth and sunshine we dream about in the dead of winter. It’s a terrific family activity and one that can be enjoyed by everyone from young children to senior citizens.

Of course, biking is not without its dangers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1,000 U.S. bicyclists died and nearly 467,000 were injured in 2015. Fortunately, we know there are steps we can take to stay safe while taking part in this enjoyable summer activity.

First of all, it is critical to always — always — wear a bike helmet. Collisions and falls don’t have to occur at high speeds to be damaging. In fact, you don’t have to be moving at all to tip over and seriously hurt your head. We can fix broken bones, but we can’t always fix a brain injury sustained while cycling. Your best bet is to wear a properly fitting helmet each and every time. Make sure it’s the right size, fits snugly, has appropriately tight straps and is aligned just above the eyebrows.

Fortunately for wearers, bike helmets have come a long way in recent years. They fit better and are more comfortable than ever, with improved venting to keep you cool even in the warmest summer sun. They look good, too — kids can choose from helmets featuring popular characters or those designed to look like their favorite animals.

Parents, what you do matters when it comes to making helmets a lifelong habit for your child. Get them used to wearing a helmet as soon as they get their first trike or bike, and make sure you model the behavior yourself (for your sake and theirs). Normalizing helmet wearing when kids are young will make it easier to enforce the practice as they grow.

Be sure to maintain your bike. Check the chain, tire pressure and brakes before climbing on. Adjust the bike as your child grows so it always fits properly. There should be no loose or hanging clothing that can get entangled.

Knowing the rules of the road is also critical when it comes to safe cycling. Whether you’re on a path or on the road with motor vehicles, you want to bike on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic and always obey all lights and traffic signs. Look both ways before entering a street or intersection. Stay alert, aware and always assume other bikers and vehicles can’t see you. Teach kids the rules and use extra caution when out riding with little ones. Remember night safety — wear reflective clothing and use reflectors or lights if biking at dusk, dawn or night.

Finally, it should go without saying that you should always ride sober and never use your phone or earbuds while biking. Accidents can happen quickly and you need to be alert, aware and undistracted — just as when you’re driving a car.

Bellin Health hosts an annual Bike Rodeo in conjunction with Green Bay Packers training camp. We offer free helmets and fittings for kids, as well as a bike safety course designed to help them learn and practice safe cycling habits. This year’s date hasn’t been set yet, but keep an eye on the Bellin Health Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates.

Biking is one of the best ways to get out and savor summer. By taking precautions and staying safe, you can enjoy cycling season for many years to come.

Dr. Patricia McDougall Schick is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and a member of the Bellin Health Titletown Sports Medicine & Orthopedics team. She is currently seeing patients at Bellin Health Oconto Hospital & Clinic.