Riding a bicycle to school can be a highly enjoyable for your child, but entails a little more skill than simply walking. Before your child starts riding a bike to school, take the time to practice their riding skills with them in a safe place without traffic, like an empty parking lot--the same way we learned to ride years ago.
At Anderson Behel, we were taught how to ride a bicycle to and from school when we hit the right age and it was one of our first steps into the "real world" while instilling a sense of independence and responsibility into our developing brains. We are sharing these safety tips, because often here in Santa Clara, CA we read about tragic accidents between young people on bikes and adults in cars every once in a while.
Number One Rule: Practice, Practice, Practice!
Children should work on their essential skills for bicycling, such as starting and stopping, looking over their shoulders, riding in a straight line and signaling to vehicles. The better your children are at riding their bikes logically means that they are less likely to get into accidents.
Always Use the Proper Equipment
Your son or daughter should only use a bicycle that is not too large or small. One of the wisest things your young person can do to stay safe while bicycling is to wear a helmet. If your child falls or is in an accident, a helmet is the ideal protection against the head and/or brain injuries.
A helmet should always fit properly or it is not effective. It should fit low on your child's forehead and situate itself exactly two fingers above the eyebrow. Your child should be able to look upwards and see the helmet itself, because otherwise it's too far back on his or her head.
In addition, your child should always dress to be easily seen by motorists at all times. Just like pedestrians, bicyclists can be seen more easily when they wear bright-colored clothing. At night, your child should have a bright white light on the front of their bicycle and a red reflector on the rear of the bike to make it easier for drivers to see your child while riding their bicycle when it's dark.
Always Remember the Bicycle Riders' ABCs
Your children should always be absolutely certain that their bicycles are road-ready before embarking on any trip. Prior to each and every ride, they should check the following:
Air in their tires,
Be Street Smart and-and Safe Every Day!
If your child can learn these three basic rules and adhere to them, they will be safe while cycling on the road by learning a wide range of useful lessons that they can use for the rest of their lives.
Sources: Kids and Cars; NHTSA and Car Talk