Learning to ride a bike is a childhood rite of passage. You probably remember learning to ride from a parent, and it’s time to pass the skill on to your child. In addition to teaching kids balance and how fun it can be travel on wheels, it’s essential to teach them safety information.
Biking without proper protection leaves kids open to all kinds of injuries. A bike helmet should always be worn, and it should fit your child. If it’s too loose, it won’t offer maximum protection in case of a fall or accident.
Accidents or falls usually involve pavement or concrete, so wearing jeans is a good habit to adopt when riding. This can minimize the road rash and damage to skin during a fall. Most kids today have phones, and it is helpful for your child to carry one if they are riding their bike on their own. Your child should know who to contact if they are hurt, lost or need some sort of assistance.
Though riding a bike can be an almost meditative experience, kids need to be aware of their surroundings at all times to avoid danger. This takes practice and an understanding of where it’s safe to bike and where is best to avoid.
Bike trails are excellent places to bike, but kids need to know the rules about staying on the right and letting other bikers know if they plan on passing. Though biking in the road is an accepted practice and cars are supposed to give bikes respect on the road, it’s dangerous for young riders to venture onto streets alone. Sidewalks are a safer bet as long as riders are careful to avoid hitting pedestrians. Kids need to understand that riding on private properly can put them at risk, and they need to know how to tell the difference between private and public land.
On roads, intersections are particularly dangerous for bike riders. Cars do not always look for bike riders, and if a bike is in the blind spot of a driver, then a collision can occur. Teach your child to pay extra attention at intersections. Remind them how important it is to always be aware of your surroundings.
Beware of Distractions
Having a cell phone to reach out for help is valuable for young bike riders, but it can also be a dangerous distraction. Texting and driving a car causes accidents, and the same can be said for texting while riding a bike. Looking down at a phone when a child should be aware of their surroundings and scanning for traffic can cause accidents or wrecks. Tell kids not to use their cell phones unless they are off their bikes and able to focus.
Teach kids bike safety from the beginning and reduce the chances of them encountering harm. Riding a bike is a great way for kids to learn independence and responsibility early in life, but it requires caution.