A bike offers so much to a child. It promotes exploratory play; it’s a mode of transportation; it encourages independence; it develops balance; and so much more. Hence, it’s no wonder that kids, boys and girls, just love bicycles. But teaching them how to drive their bikes properly can be a challenge. They will fall and they will get scratches and bruises. Yet they will try and try because, to them, nothing is more rewarding than the day when their training wheels are removed. Still, before these are taken out and before you allow your child to drive longer distances on his own, you must explain to him what his responsibilities are as a biker so that he’ll remain safer on public roads.
o He must have proper training. Some kids are not very good bike riders. They know how to drive straight, but they don’t know how to turn or stop when needed. Without the right biking skills, your child becomes a danger to himself and to others. Hence, assess your child’s driving abilities first.
o He must use the right equipment. Accidents on the road can happen. In order to improve your kid’s safety while on the road, see to it that he has the recommended equipment. A helmet is essential, and this must be worn each time your child rides. Knee and elbow pads can also protect him in case he falls.
o He must not ride his bike at night. Kids are independent, and your son might try to ride his bike to go to a friend’s house at night. But bicycling when it’s dark outside is very dangerous. A child is small; thus, it will be harder for other drivers to see him. Streets are also more deserted at night, and this makes your child vulnerable to attackers.
For older kids who are already allowed to bike at night, they must be required to wear the proper gear. Moreover, they must utilize items that will help in increasing their visibility while biking, such as LED lights that can be attached to bicycles and also reflective vests. Nevertheless, parents must not allow their children to go out at night especially since many accidents that involve bikers often happen between 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. These are also the times when drunk drivers are on the road.
o He must be aware of traffic rules. Bob M. Cohen & Associates believe that bicyclists have the same rights as other motorists. Because of this, cyclists, young and old, are also subject to the same traffic rules that govern all drivers. Therefore, before allowing your kid to drive his bike on public roads, he must understand traffic regulations and he must know how to put them into practice. To illustrate, a young driver must be able to identify and follow all traffic signals or lights, and he must obey all road regulations in order to stay safe.
o He must realize that riding a bike is a responsibility. A child who is old enough to drive a bike on his own must also comprehend that bicycling is not play, particularly if he is out on public roads. Hence, he must not participate in bike races or other recreational activities that might threaten people’s safety. He has a responsibility to himself and to other motorists. He must also understand that accidents do happen; and, when they do, the effects could be devastating not only to himself, but to other victims too.
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Claire Taylor is a freelance writer and a mom. Her articles are often about road safety and automobile maintenance.