Check out these top five safety tips to keep your child safe while they are biking to and from school.
1. Before school starts, go over with your child the route they will take to and from school each day, to make sure that it is safe and that they know it by heart. Teach them to use the “buddy system” and to not take short cuts or talk to strangers.
2. Ensure that your child knows the basic rules of the road. Oftentimes, sidewalks are not available and bikers must share the road with cars or ride in designated “bike lanes” on the roadway. Teach your child to ride single file in the bike lane and to be aware of the cars and people around them at all time. Instruct your child in the proper use of hand signals and remind them to always signal before turning.
3. Set rules for cell phone use. While this might seem obvious to you, many children today have their phones on and in their hands at all times, including while walking or on a bike. Make sure that your child has his or her cell phone safely stowed away in a backpack while they are biking. If they absolutely must send a text or make a call, teach them to safely pull off to the side of the road or sidewalk beforehand.
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4. Dress your child in bright colors to make sure they are very visible while on the road. Shoes and backpacks often have reflective patches to add visibility, and many bikes come with reflectors as well. It’s also a good idea to install front and rear lights onto your child’s bike, and a small horn or bell, to ensure auditory “visibility” as well.
5. Practice a “safety first” mentality. Make sure that your child always wears a helmet anytime they are riding their bike. Many states have laws about helmets for children and, even if yours doesn’t, you should still teach your child the importance of wearing one. Helmets can prevent serious traumatic brain injuries, and they can also be fairly customized to your child’s personality, so that it seems more like an accessory than a safety precaution.
Look for part six of our Back-to-School Safety series in the upcoming weeks for more helpful tips to keep you and your children safe during the back-to-school season and throughout the school year.