Summertime is bike time. But some neighborhoods are more bike friendly than others. If you live in a highly populated area with heavy traffic, riding bikes can sometimes be a challenge.
Before your kids even put their tires to the road, there are a few safety checks to perform.
Does their bike helmet fit properly, and is it still in good condition?
Is the helmet sitting firmly on their head with very little room to wiggle?
Are they wearing the proper shoes?
Are they wearing any loose clothing that can get caught in the wheels? (If yes, change into clothes that fit close to the body.)
Are they wearing sunscreen?
Evaluate your neighborhood for “bikeability”. Go for a ride with your kids to examine the routes they may ride on a regular basis. Then ask yourself the following questions:
Did you have a place to ride safely? (On road with motor vehicles or on an off-road path where motor vehicles are not allowed?)
Was the ride crowded with other vehicles?
Was a path unsafe due to steep hills, sharp turns or other inconsistencies in the road?
How were the intersections that you rode through?
Did other drivers behave well?
Was it easy for you to use your bike?
If your ride was smooth and easy, your neighborhood scores a high bikeability rating! Get out and have fun! If it was a challenge, there may be a little work to be done. Find another route and ride it with your kids so they are comfortable. Ride when traffic is less heavy. Even consider advocating for additional bike trails in your community.
Remember, no matter where and when you ride, it’s important to follow the rules of the road.
Always wear a bicycle helmet (parents too!)
Obey traffic signals and signs.
Don’t weave. Ride in a straight line.
Signal your turns.
Ride with traffic, NOT against it.
Use lights if riding at night.
Wear bright or reflective clothing.
Use courtesy when approaching other riders, pedestrians and drivers.