Cycling is fun for kids and kids’-at-heart alike! However, without the proper safety techniques and rules, cycling can also be a dangerous thing. Some biking accidents involving children are the result of the children riding bikes in an unsafe and unobservant manner.
Teaching your kids the importance of good bike safety is important in terms of securing their safety as they ride back and forth to school. ‘Stranger danger’ is a great concern for many parents, but a greater risk will be your child’s biking behavior. Keeping the rules of the roads, staying observant, and respecting the responsibility of their independence should be instilled in their minds.
Here are some great tips you can teach your children before sending them off to school on their bicycles:
#01. Have a buddy.
It is a great idea to find another friend or neighbor close by that your child can bike with. For young children, ‘bike-pool’ can be a good option within your neighborhood. How is this done? Parents can take turns accompanying the children to school.
#02. Know the basic rules of the road.
Before children should be permitted to ride their bikes to and from school, make sure that they understand the way the road to their school goes. Important points to teach them are: driveways, intersection crossing, four-way stop signs, stop lights, and even pedestrian crosswalks.
#03. Plan a route.
It is important that you plan the route you want your children to take to school and reiterate the importance of not veering from it. For some kids who will ride alone, it is better to have a rotation of routes to take so they don’t take the same route daily. Having planned routines will help you better teach them road rules. It will also give you an idea where to look first if they do not come home on time.
It also helps to let your child’s teacher know he/she is bike riding to and from school, and that you will call on the day when the child is ill and not coming to school. That way, the teacher knows to contact you if your child doesn’t show up for class on time.
#04. See and be seen.
It is important to teach your children to be observant and to focus when on their bikes. Discourage them from listening to music, being caught up in conversations, or worse, zoning out! Instill that they pay attention. They also need to make sure that they are seen by cars and other people around them. Teach them to never assume that a car knows they are there – they must be sure.
#05. Be in control.
When riding a bike to and from school, it is your kid’s responsibility to be safe. Teach them that when on a bike, it is not the time to goof off, try tricks, or carry too many things. They should always keep at least one hand on the handlebars and both wheels on the ground. As much as possible, they should also avoid swerving and weaving.
Are there other safety rules you can think of? Let us know what they are!