Over half of bicycle injuries treated in hospitals in the United States are for children under 15. It is every parent’s fear that their child is involved in an accident which results in injury or worse. Many parents neglect teaching their children the proper ways to stay safe on the roads. Children need more than guidelines to stay safe – they need rules. It is recommended that you observe your children cycling and give them guidance, but below are some fundamental rules that all children should know before they ride their bike.
- Firstly, your child should know to avoid busy roads with heavy traffic. However, this should not lead them to believe that they cannot have an accident on a neighbourhood street. Over 60% of bicycle accidents in the United States occur on small neighbourhood streets. Nonetheless, young riders should begin on these streets where cars travel slower.
- Your child should always know to look before crossing a road. They should be taught to look right, then left, then right again as they cross (or the opposite directions in Australia, New Zealand or the UK).
- If your child cycles on the footpath (recommended for beginners), they should ride slowly and always be prepared to stop in case a car is coming out of a driveway.
- Your child should know how to read and obey all road signs and traffic signals.
- Your child should go with the flow of traffic because when a car is coming out of a driveway or alley, they look in the direction of oncoming traffic.
- A cyclist must keep their hands on the handlebars at all times.
- Young cyclists should not ride after dark until they are more confident on their bike.
- Most importantly, your child should never succumb to peer group pressure. If their friends are doing something dangerous, they should not take part.
Aside from educating your child about bicycle safety for kids, it is also beneficial to take out bicycle insurance. There are an array of options available, ranging from simple coverage for theft and damage, through to comprehensive mountain bike insurance for competitive cyclists. In any case, it may save you thousands in hospital bills if your child has an accident or, at the very least, replace a stolen bike one unlucky day.