Riding can be an interesting experience for children, but it can also be a dangerous exercise in terms of road traffic and body balance. Even the most experienced riders can have accidents! Just a couple months back, our founder, Brad Appel was injured in a car vs. bike accident during Ride the Rockies. Luckily, Brad is ok and recovering! Safety is the first thing that both the parents and children need to focus on before venturing out for a bike ride. In order to ride safely, it is critical to understand some basic road rules. Here are some tips for you:
- The basic road rules. As a cyclist, YOU have the right to use the road. Basically, riders have the same rights, as well as the responsibilities, as the drivers on the road. However, a bike is smaller and narrower than the average automobile, especially for a children’s bicycle. Therefore, it is vital for the kids to understand the importance of visibility and position (staying in the bike lane, making eye contact with drivers, etc.) It is recommended that children under the age of 10, use the sidewalk or pedestrian path.
- The traffic principles for cyclists. According to The League of American Bicyclists (2018), there are some principles that the bike riders shall follow. First, always ride on the right half of the road, and leave enough room to maneuver around hazards. Second, yield to traffic in the bus lane, and always yield to the pedestrians. Third, position yourself on the right side of the lane, but ride in the middle of the narrow lane to avoid being overtaken. It is also noticeable that some states of the US require the bike riders to wear the safety helmet (Markowitz & Chatterji, 2013). Therefore, it is necessary to check the local cycling regulations before you ride.
- Be predictable and think ahead. As a rider, it is unwise to engage in any behavior that could lead to a traffic accident, no matter who is the one that violates the road rules. The flesh body never wins against the metal car. As a result, it is important for all riders to make themselves predictable to the motor vehicles by riding straight, using hand signals, or any other necessary method. For the riders, make sure to check the situation behind you before making the decision to turn or change lanes. On the other hand, it is equally important to think ahead. Much like driving, you should anticipate what other road users will do next and make decisions accordingly. For example, when a car ahead of you turns on a turn signal or makes the turning movement, it is better to slow down and avoid the crash.
- Markowitz, S., & Chatterji, P. (2013). Effects of bicycle helmet laws on children’s injuries. Health Economics, 24(1), 26–40.
- The League of American Bicyclists. (2018). Ride Better Tips. The League of American Bicyclists. Viewed at: https://www.bikeleague.org/content/ride-better-tips