Teaching Kids Bike Safety: If nothing else, teach them this…
Teaching your kids to ride a bike can be exciting and terrifying. They’ve finally hit that milestone and it’s awesome (even if it did take 6 months and lots of tears, cough, cough, one of our daughters…). But what next? They have a helmet on, they can balance on their bike and peddle around. They’re good to go, right?
Not quite. One of the most important things to teach them, if you teach them nothing else, is road safety. Unless your child will only ever be riding on a dirt trail with no other pedestrians, cyclists or cars, they need to learn some basic rules of the road.
- Always look before riding into the street.
Stop, make sure there are no cars, then ride.
- Ride with the direction of traffic, not against.
Be aware of traffic patterns and ride WITH the cars. They’re more likely to see you.
-Obey all stop signs and traffic lights.
Bikes have to follow the rules of the road just like cars. If you’re on the street, then you have to follow the rules just like the cars.
That means ride in a straight line. Don’t swerve through cars, parked or otherwise. Do follow the signs and basic rules of the road so other cyclists and cars know what you’re doing.
-Learn and use hand signals.
Teach your child biking hand signals (left turn, right turn, stop) and practice using it in real time. Not only is it safer to ride your bike when others know what your doing, but it’s easier to ride in a group if the bikers in the front signal their actions.
Kids don’t know what they don’t know. It’s our job to teach them to be safe and responsible. Everything else about riding they’ll pick up as they get stronger, but if they learn the rules of the road from the beginning, they’ll be way ahead of the game and be much safer biking for their entire lives.