From weekend rides with the family to those first solo trips to a friend’s house or school, learning how to ride a bike is often a major rite of passage for both children and their parents. However, once your kids have mastered the physical aspect of cycling, it is just as important to teach them how to ride safely.
According to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, biking injuries are the most common sport-related reason that children between ages 5 and 14 require emergency care. That makes it especially important to teach kids basic bicycle safety tips from an early age.
Explain the rules of the road
While it is generally safer for younger children to ride on the sidewalk, it is still essential to teach kids basic road rules—especially when it comes to approaching and crossing intersections. Remind children to ride on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic and teach them the importance of watching out for stop signs, stop lights and other traffic signals. Make sure to reinforce the habit of stopping and looking both ways before entering an intersection or crossing a street.
Teach kids to be watchful for blind spots and careless drivers
It is also important to coach children to keep an eye out for areas where drivers may have reduced visibility or may not be paying attention. Remind kids to be alert when passing by driveways or alleys. You should also teach children to make eye contact before crossing an intersection or street to ensure that the driver has seen them and does not pose a safety risk.
Emphasize the importance of wearing a helmet
According to the Safe Kids Connecticut Program, wearing a helmet may reduce the danger of brain injury by up to 88%. To ensure that kids wear protective gear consistently, make sure to set a good example by wearing a helmet yourself when riding on your own or with your children.