Cycling is a fun and healthy activity for children, as well as being a green form of transportation. Cycling should be encouraged, however it is important that children understand cycle safety instructions or they could be putting themselves and others at risk. These tips can help to keep children safe when they are out on their bikes.
Local Cycle Initiatives
Many schools and local authorities run cycle training schemes to help to teach children the basics of road safety when they are on their bicycle. If you can arrange for your child to complete one of these courses then you will notice the benefits. These sessions are taught by experts, so they will teach your children all of the essential information, including some things that you might otherwise forget.
Choosing the right Bike
If you want your child to stay safe when they are on the road which of course every parent does, make sure that you choose a bike which is the right size for your child.
When you are buying items for a child, it can be tempting to buy things that are slightly too big, because you know that they will grow into them. You should never be tempted to do this with a bicycle because it could put them at risk. Ask your local bike shop about children’s bikes with variable seats and pedals, so that you can change the fit of the bike as they grow bigger. Ask the bike shop to set the bike up to their perfect fit and get them to show you how to adjust it safely so that you will know how to do it when you need to.
Fit your child with necessary safety gear before they go out on their bike.
They should always wear a helmet when they are riding, even if they are only planning on cycling a short distance. A helmet will help to protect their head if they come off of the bike or cycle near any low hanging objects. A cycle helmet should fit securely without being too tight. It should not be worn pushed too far back.
If your child plans on cycling on the road, they should also be given high visibility clothing. This includes a high visibility jacket and high visibility straps to wear around the ankles. These items reflect light back towards where it came from, making it much easier for other road users to see cyclists.
You should look over your child’s bike regularly to make sure that it is roadworthy. If any component on a bike fails, it can become dangerous, and therefore damaged components must be replaced before they become a risk.
Look at the tyres to make sure that they have an adequate level of tread, because bald tyres are more likely to skid and slip. You should also check the brake pads and make sure that they continue to meet up with the tyre properly. This will help your child to stop quickly if they need to.
You should make sure that there are lights and reflectors on their bike, even if you do not intend for them to go out on their bike after dark. Reflectors can help your children to stay seen, even during the daytime.
Check that the seat is secure, especially if you have recently adjusted it to match your child’s fit. A slipping seat can be very dangerous when your child is out on the road.
Basics of Road Safety
Your child should be given advice on the basics of road safety. Understanding and complying with the basics of oead safety will help your child to avoid potential hazards, as well as reducing the chances of them becoming a hazard themselves.
Cyclists put themselves at risk when they act in an unpredictable manner, so they will be safer if they follow this standard behaviour.
- Make sure that you always look behind you before you make a turn, stop suddenly or attempt to overtake another road user.
- Always use arms signals before turning so that they can denote the direction that they intend to turn. This acts in a similar way to the indicator light on a car.
- Always obey road signs and traffic lights. Your child should never cycle through a red light on the road, even if they are just going over a pedestrian crossing.
- Try not to cycle on the pavement if you don’t have to unless there is a sign saying that cyclists should do this.
- Be careful when passing parked cars, in case the passenger or driver opens the door into your path.
- Always stay aware whilst you are out on your bike. Do not listen to music or look at your phone whilst you are cycling.
- Never cycle next to another person if the road is narrow or busy.
Most importantly, enjoy yourself!