As a child, you should make it a priority to learn how to ride a bike. Getting your kid ready to venture out on foot or two wheels is a huge accomplishment for the whole family. Your child’s safety and your own can both benefit from and enjoy participating in fun, interactive pedestrian and bicycle safety practice sessions. Below, you will find some helpful tips as well as dos and donts when it comes to a bike for kids.
How to Begin Protecting Bicyclists and Walkers
Talk to your kid about the precautions you’re taking whenever you go for a walk or ride a bike together. Let her know that you’re doing this to keep her safe and that you appreciate her trusting you with this responsibility. Then have her imitate your actions. In time, you can step back and let your child take the reins as she teaches others about bike safety. Affirm her efforts when they are successful and guide her through the process when they are not.
It’s best to avoid walking or riding alone at night and always travel in groups. Bring a flashlight with you if you have to go out at night. Texas has a law that states all bicycles ridden on the road at night must be equipped with a white front light and a red rear light or reflector.
Before Every Ride, Make Sure Your Bike Is Safe
- Ensure that your kid’s bike and helmet fit their body well. (Because kids develop rapidly, it’s wise to have their bicycle helmets, and safety gear checked at least twice a year. If you need assistance, visit a nearby bike shop.
- Verify that your bike’s tires are properly inflated.
- Keep your pants and shoelaces out of the way of the bike’s moving parts.
- Put your belongings in a backpack or bike basket, or strap them to the back of your seat using a rack.
Guidelines for Pedestrian and Bike Safety
Contrast your uniqueness by not fitting in. Be as noticeable as possible to others.
Children are easily startled because of their size and erratic behavior. This is especially true in the morning, at dusk, during a fog or rainstorm, or late at night. Have your child wear brightly colored clothing, backpacks, hats, or jackets so drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians can easily spot her. Encourage your kid to don clothing and accessories that already feature reflective elements or to go out and purchase some reflective tape. You should probably get her a bike safety vest or harness if she rides frequently.
1. It’s essential to pay attention to your environment.
Children need to maintain vigilance regarding pedestrian and bicycle safety because it is impossible to predict the actions of others. Unfortunately, not all motorists and cyclists are responsible and stick to the rules of the road. Your child should learn to be aware of her surroundings and to keep an eye out for moving vehicles. It’s important to put away your phone and any headphones or earbuds when you’re out and about with a kid.
2. To get around in an area, you can either walk or ride your bike.
Pedestrians should use the sidewalk. When none is present, use the left side of the road. The safest way to cross the street is with your back to oncoming traffic so that you can see oncoming vehicles and they can see you.
If you’re going to be out on a bike, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Wherever possible, travel on designated bike lanes and roadway shoulders.
- Separate into single-file lines, with one cyclist per bike.
- Follow the flow of traffic and stay on the right.
- Let pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists know what you intend to do using hand signals.
Hand Signals for Bicyclists
- Always maintain a hand on the handlebars.
- Hold your left arm out in front of you to signal that you want to turn left.
- When executing a right turn, the arm must be raised straight above the head. Holding your right arm straight from your body is also a common way to signal a right turn in the Lone Star State.
- Stopping or slowing down is indicated by lowering the left arm and holding the hand flat and behind the back.
In Texas, cyclists are required by law to use hand signals.
It is important to watch out for potential dangers to pedestrians and cyclists.
In order to avoid getting into any sort of mishaps, pedestrians and cyclists alike should always keep an eye on their surroundings. Things like pedestrians, animals, rocks, potholes, toys, trash, broken glass, and opening car doors are all potential hazards to be aware of while out and about. If you are with other people and you notice a problem, you should also tell them about it. And, of course, keep a sharp eye out for passing cars at all times.
When crossing the street, please exercise extreme caution.
As a pedestrian or cyclist, you need to know when and where it is safe to cross the street. Due to blind spots, motorists frequently miss pedestrians and cyclists. When driving a bus or other large vehicle, the area directly in front of the vehicle is out of the driver’s line of sight. Never try to beat them across the street; always let them go first.
In which direction should you cross?
Please use crosswalks, intersections, and traffic lights when crossing the street. Keep to the sidewalks whenever possible, and never cross between parked cars or the middle of the street.
- Completely come to a halt at the intersection or crosswalk.
- Check your left, right, and left again for oncoming traffic and the roadways in front and behind you.
- Instead of running or riding a bike across the street, please walk.
When to Cross
- Don’t try to get across until you see that all bikes and cars have stopped.
- To always assume that you are being seen is a dangerous assumption to make. Wait for a nod, smile, wave, or any other indication from drivers and cyclists that it is safe to cross the street.
- When a walk signal is present, pedestrians should wait for it before crossing the street.
- Don’t walk into traffic; wait until the light is green to cross.
A Guide to Safer Bicycling and Walking Routes to School
For their own safety, it’s recommended that children walk or bike to school in pairs or larger groups. Many communities and schools have organized groups like Walking School Buses and Bike Trains to help students get to and from class safely and efficiently. Students meet at a set time and walk together along a set route to school while accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Look for social media groups or ask your child’s school about neighborhood email lists to find a Walking School Bus, Bike Train, or other groups. You can get together with other families and start your group if none already exists. Make sure you have someone in your group who is familiar with walking or biking to school and can advise you on how to stay safe.
Choosing a route to school that has low traffic and low-speed limits is the safest option for students. Check out which roads have bike lanes, bike paths, or sidewalks so you can ride safely. It’s preferable to take a path with as few street crossings as possible and ones that are particularly well-lit and safe. It’s best to plan your child’s street crossings for times when there are fewer cars on the road, and a stop sign or traffic light controls the crossing. It’s important to remember that a longer route may actually be the safer option.
Launch Into Fun, and Off You Go!
We hope you and your child will feel more at ease with these safety precautions before she heads out on her bike or foot. Connecting with your child while also helping her develop crucial safety and independence skills can be accomplished through regular bike and pedestrian safety practice.