However, bike riding can be extremely dangerous for children if we do not properly educate them from an early age. If we are able to establish safety routines and expectations with their children at an early age, then they can feel more confident and comfortable in their child’s riding abilities.
Here are some basic tips to instill into your young bicyclist’s riding routine:
- 1. No playing in the road.
- 2. No riding on busy streets.
- 3. Stop and look before entering a roadway to cross or for any other reason.
- 4. Always ride with an adult
- 5. Stop for all stop signs and obey all other traffic signs and signals.
- 6. Keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times — two is better.
- 7. No riding at night — even in broad daylight bright cloths are good.
- 8. WEAR A BICYCLE HELMET!
Wondering how to approach teaching your child to ride a bike? Here are some useful tips:
• Allow your child to first learn to bicycle at an obstacle-free park, courts (basketball or tennis), parking lot or driveway. Here, they can learn balance, steering and pedaling.
• Next use walkways, sidewalks and pavement. Here he or she starts to encounter pedestrians and hazards like cracks in the pavement, glass, debris, poles, benches, etc, and possibly other vehicles. During this time, focus on keeping control of the bicycle. Most bike accidents, especially for kids, are falls, collisions with stationary objects, collisions with pedestrians or collisions with other bikes.
• Children will then want to try riding in the street. Remember that children need the discipline to ALWAYS stop and look both ways for moving vehicles, and wait for the light if appropriate. Children are poor at judging speed and distance.
Some other safe tips to consider:
- Make sure your child has the right equipment
- Have your child wear a helmet every time he or she rides a bike
- Make sure the bike is the correct size for the child. A bike that’s too big makes injuries more likely.
- The child’s feet should reach the ground when he or she is seated.
- The bike should fit your child at his or her current age.
- Make sure the type of bike matches your child’s abilities.
This article was written by Heather Grocott, Director of Education and Training at The Children’s Workshop in Lincoln, RI.