Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
When we send our children out into the world, we hope we have equipped them with the proper tools to keep them safe and help them make good decisions. Sometimes we are able to discretely observe our children, and it can be horrifying and terrifying to see that they are neglecting the instruction and rules you have given them. Such was the case for me – with bicycle safety.
I had the opportunity to watch my two, older sons as they biked through the neighborhood. They wavered from near the curb toward the middle of the street, and they crossed from one side to the other without looking behind them. My heart pounded in panic as I watched them carelessly navigate through our neighborhood.
I immediately went home to sign them up for a bicycle safety course, and we sat down as a family and reviewed bicycle safety rules.
1. You don’t ride anywhere without a helmet. Not even to the neighbors.
2. Ride close to the curb or on the sidewalk if there is one. In our neighborhood, we do not have sidewalks. Cars are accustomed to children walking and playing in the street, but thy still need to be conscious of where they are riding.
3. We don’t ride after dark.
4. Be aware of what is around you. Watch for bumps and glass in the road. Pay attention to parked cars and for doors opening or for cars about to drive away.
5. Ride on the same side of the road as traffic. Do not ride against traffic.
6. Obey traffic signs. This means stopping at stop signs and red lights. Turn left from the left turn lane, or – better yet – walk your bike across the street.
7. Ride in bicycle lanes when they are provided and there are no sidewalks.
8. Use bicycle signals. Look behind you before making a turn.
9. Take care of your bicycle. Make sure your wheels are properly inflated, your bicycle is not left outside when you are done riding it, and that your gears and brakes are working properly.
Riding bikes around the neighborhood and into town is a rite of passage. Nervous parents watch as their growing children embrace their new freedoms. Moms can breathe a sigh of relief knowing their children have the knowledge they need to stay safe. It never hurts to spend time reviewing bicycle safety issues and your family’s biking rules.