Teach your kids to ‘learn and earn’ the privilege to ride their bike to school
Biking to school involves much more skill and attention than walking and can be dangerous if safety precautions are not taken. Here are some important bicycle safety awareness to be practiced during this school year.
- Check with your school to make sure bike riding is allowed. Some schools do not allow students to ride bicycles to school until they reach a specific grade.
- Find out where to park the bike at school and if a lock is required.
- Inspect your child’s bike, or take it in for a professional safety inspection. Look over the brakes, wheel alignment, seat, handlebars, pedals, tires, axle nuts and bearings and chain. If needed, replace, tighten or adjust bike parts to insure your child’s bike is safe to ride.
- Insist on a helmet! It is essential to safe bike riding for the prevention of head injury.
- Plant the safest route to school with your child. A safe route will avoid busy roads when there are quieter routes available. Practice riding the planned route with your child until they demonstrate mastery with all of the rules. Cardinal rule: never deviate from the planned route.
- Ride with a friend, if possible. There is safety in numbers.
- Teach your child how to obey the rules of the road; the rules are the same for all vehicles, including bicycles. Always observe stop signs (even if no other vehicle is visible), yield signs and other traffic markers. Instruct your children walk, not ride, their bike across busy intersections.
- If sidewalks are not available, always stay on the right-hand side of the road and ride in the same direction as traffic. If riding with a friend, always ride single file. Street riding is never advised for small children.
- Use wheel reflectors and have your child wear bright neon reflective colors. A backpack with neon reflective strips or tape is a great safety item for your bike riding children.
Use the following hand signals to alert others when turning:
1. Left turn: Left hand and arm held straight out, pointing left.
2. Right turn: Left hand and arm held straight up or right arm held straight out, pointing right.
3. Stop: Left hand and arm held straight down.
Final note to kids:
Always ride to and from school directly, with no extra stops or shortcuts, even if your friends insist. Learn these rules. Arrive at school and then back home at the designated time to insure your safety and to keep your fun ‘biking to school’ privilege ongoing!
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