Riding a bicycle to school can also be enjoyable for your child, but involves a little more skill than walking. Before your child begins riding to school, take time to practice riding skills in a safe place with no traffic, like an empty parking lot.
Children should work on important skills such as starting and stopping, riding in a straight line, looking over their shoulders, and signaling to vehicles. The better children are at riding, the less likely they are to crash.
Use The Right Gear.
Your child should only use a bicycle that is the right size, not one that is too
big or too small. One of the smartest things your child can do to stay safe
on a bicycle is wear a helmet. If your child falls or crashes, a helmet is the best protection against head and brain injury. A helmet is most effective when it fits properly; it should fit low on your child’s forehead, just two fingers above the eyebrow. Your child should be able to look up and see the helmet; otherwise it’s too far back. Your child should dress to be visible to motorists at all times of the day. Just like pedestrians, bicyclists are most easily seen when they wear bright-colored clothing. Riding at night can be dangerous. If your child has to ride at night, you or a responsible adult should ride along. Put a white light on the front of the bicycle and a red reflector on the back to make it easier for drivers to see your child’s bicycle at night.
Remember The ABCs.
Your children should always make sure their bicycles are ready to go. Before every ride, they should check the:
- Air in their tires,
- Brakes, and
Be Street Smart.
Remind your child that a bicycle is a vehicle, not a toy. Your child should ride with at least one hand on the handlebars at all time, and with only one rider per seat. Kids need to use their eyes and ears to stay alert, so they should never use headphones or cell phones while riding. Your child should ride on a sidewalk when one is available, or ride in the same direction of traffic if there is no sidewalk. Ride with young children who aren’t familiar with the rules of the road and remind them to be careful around driveways and parked cars. Just like with walking, the safest place for young bicyclists to cross the street is a corner or intersection. Your child should get off the bicycle, look left-right-left, and walk the bicycle across the street when no traffic is coming.