In the midst of this pandemic, bike riding has shown a resurgence for both children and adults. In some urban areas, biking is replacing the public transit commute, and it is nearly impossible to even find a bicycle for purchase. In and around Morgantown, West Virginia, we have a great network of rail trails for bike riding enjoyment.
Here are some of our best tips for helping your kiddos to keep it fun by keeping it safe:
Teaching Kids Bike Safety
Do you love cycling and do you want to make it an integral part of your family’s routine? Biking with your kids is an excellent way to get them comfortable on a bike. However, it’s also vital to ensure that they have a strong understanding of bike safety so you’ll feel at ease when they go out biking on their own. Here are some tips on how to teach your children bike safety so your kids are ready to take on the world, one bicycle lane at a time.
Making bike safety gear fun
As a minimum requirement, safety gear for riding a bicycle is a nice set of lights for when it’s dark. A lot of people also opt to wear helmets and hi-visibility clothing. Make the process of safety gear fun by offering your children various options and allowing them to choose their suit.
Practicing off the bike
Practice hand signals with your kids at home. It’s crucial to practice hand signals so that your child feels comfortable riding with you on busier streets. The goal is to make hand signals second nature. It doesn’t have to be in-depth, but occasional “pop quizzes” when you’re chilling at home will keep the signals fresh in their minds for the next bike ride.
Learning bike safety early helps foster a lifetime of safe bike riding. Before your kid starts riding, make sure that you teach him/ her the rules of riding.
Bicycle riders must know how to use hand signals. These signals are used to let car drivers know what a bicyclist intends to do. Here are some basic hand signals:
- Stopping: left arm bent down at the elbow
- Right turn: right arm extended straight out or left arm bent up at the elbow
- Left turn: left arm extended straight out
Before pulling into the street at an intersection, a bicycle rider should always:
- Stop, look left, and then right. Look left again.
- Look back and yield to the traffic coming from behind.
As a general rule, kids under ten years old should ride on the sidewalk, not on the road itself (even in the bicycle lane). However, you can use your best judgment to ascertain whether your kid is ready to ride on the road. Do make sure that he or she has the skills and knowledge required to keep safe to avoid a bike accident.
More bike safety rules:
- Bicycles should always be ridden in the direction of traffic and never against it. They should also be ridden on the right side of the road.
- Bicycle riders should always look out for cars coming out of parking spaces, parking lots, and driveways.Bike riders must understand and follow all traffic lights, crossing signals, and street signs.
- Young kids should always walk their bikes through intersections.
You have to make sure that your child understands basic bike safety and knows how to care for their bike. Doing so puts them at a lower risk for bike-related injuries. If you have younger kids, then monitor them at all times when they are riding. Tell your older kids to check in with you if they are out on their own.
Pack water and a small first aid kit:
Also, if they are taking off for a long ride, make sure they have water bottles and a small first aid kit containing bandages. You don’t want them to have to use socks to stop the blood should a mishap occur on the trail!