Since we are entering into bicycle safety awareness as Spring is fast approaching, I decided to put together a little article, especially since this is something I go through every year!
Once children start to express an interest in learning how to ride a bike, parents should be thinking beyond how to teach balance and observation and also how to train their children to be safety conscious while riding a bike.
Parents should make bicycle safety a top priority when they are teaching their children to ride a bike for the first time, whether they start out with training wheels or not. That includes teaching them the importance of always wearing a helmet whenever they are riding their bike and looking both ways before entering the road.
Small children cannot be expected to know all the rules of the road, nor should they be allowed to ride their bikes on main roads while they are still young, as it will be harder for motorists to see them and they are at increased danger of becoming involved in a road traffic accident.
Even if little Johnny knows how to ride a bike with confidence and skill, that does not mean he is ready to get out onto the roads yet. Supervise your children while they ride their bikes outside your home, at the park or elsewhere until you are confident that they are mature enough to ride them independently without constant supervision.
Cycling on the Road
Children should only be allowed to ride on the road when they are old enough and mature enough to handle the responsibility of cycling amongst traffic. Roads that do not have a separate bicycle lane should be avoided. Bicycle lanes allow cyclists extra room on the road, rather than a narrow road where collisions are more likely to occur. Another point to bear in mind is that cycling on the road carries with it the same level of responsibility as driving a car.
Children need to be thoroughly aware of road traffic laws that relate to cyclists so that they do not commit a violation, such as cycling against traffic (you should always cycle with traffic) or weaving in and out without signalling your intentions.
Parents should train their children while they are still young to be safety conscious while riding their bikes. After children have learned how to balance and manage a bicycle on their own, the next steps include training them to be safe, while under their parents’ watchful supervision. When children are old enough and ready, they can then start to cycle on the road.