By Jessica Averett from Bring The Kids
How often do your kids get out to ride bikes? Recently our family of six moved to a community where less than half of all households own a car. For most families, that’s hard to imagine! Bikes are not just for recreation here, but a serious mode of transportation. This very unique community of ours has not only helped us to foster our children’s love of biking but taught us some important lessons as well.
With summer just around the corner, it’s time to tune up the bikes and get the kids riding regardless of where you live. I vividly remember as a child spending hours each day cruising the neighborhood streets and pedaling around with my friends (as I’m sure many of you did as well).
Although many of us grew up spending a lot of time on two wheels, a lot of kids today, just aren’t as comfortable on bikes as our generation was. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that most biking related injuries occur to children under 14. Just as we teach our kids how to drive when they are 16, we need to teach our kids bike safety from the moment they are able to balance on two wheels.
- Ride with them
Teaching bike safety for kids requires an adult that is out there modeling that safe behavior for them. Show them how to follow rules, but also how to have a good time. Biking is a great activity that is easily accessible for all ages.
- Teach them to follow the traffic rules
This includes how to safely ride on the road for older kids, and for younger kids how to ride on the sidewalk and safely cross streets.
- Put a lid on it
Yes, it may sound redundant, but it’s especially important that kids wear a helmet. As a mother of four young kids, I can honestly say that the activity where they hit their head the most is biking. I’m just thankful that all the scrapes are on their helmet and not their head.
- Permanently install lights on every bike, both front and back
With ever changing sunset times in the summer, this is especially important so that you are not accidently out too late without a light. Young kids are hard to see during the day, and at night, it’s next to impossible without a light.
When your kids are ready to head out on their own, it’s okay to be nervous, but feel confident in what you have taught them. Also, to provide an extra measure of safety, give your kids a personal alarm. Their keychain clasp makes them easy to attach to a bike, they cost less than $10, and they are so loud that they are sure to scare away anyone bothering your child and instantly attract someone to come help!
For more tips and tricks to live an active and adventurous life with your family, check out Bring The Kids.