Cycling is brilliant for kids. It’s exciting and gets them the recommended dose of physical activity. This is important especially in this technological age of TVs and iPads. Nowadays, there is basically no reason why any child, no matter how young they are, cannot partake in cycling. There is a huge range of kids bikes for any age group. Freight bikes can be used with kids under one together with their parents. As they grow older, they progress to tricycles and eventually to normal bicycles.
Benefits of cycling to kids are vast. Cycling helps kids to not only know their neighborhood but foster good travel habits that last a lifetime. Many teachers say that kids who cycle to school are more ready and alert to learn as compared to those driven to school. Unfortunately, many kids go to the emergency room due to accidents and other bike related injuries. Kids at all ages should adhere to strict rules when it comes to safety.
Kids should first check with their parents and guardians the designated areas to ride their bikes and how far they can go. It’s more adventurous to ride with other kids in areas such a parks or the beach. No matter where you ride, daytime riding is always the safest. In wet weather, watch your speed as surfaces may be slippery and it will take longer to stop. Never ride against traffic, travel in the same direction as the cars do. Use bike lanes as much as possible and ride decisively.
USE THE RIGHT BIKE
Riding a bike that is in the right size is the first step towards safety. How do you get to know if a bike is the right size for your kid? Simply stand across the bike with you feet flat on the ground. There should be one to three inches of space between you and the top bar. Riding the right bike size improves posture and avoid back pains. Parents should always make sure the kids bikes (check for example those on Bikester) are maintained properly before use. Check oil, brakes and chain regularly. The tyres should not be worn out and have enough pressure.
Like any other motorist on the road, road rules should always be adhered. kids should always ride with their hands on the handlebars. Show off and reckless behaviour is greatly discouraged. Always stop and check for traffic in both directions when joining a road or crossing driveways. Use bike lanes without riding too close to parked cars as doors could suddenly open. When passing other bikers, always pass to the left side. Obey traffic rules and stop at all “stop” signs.
A helmet is a must-have! Wearing a helmet that fits well helps protect your face and head incase of a fall. Make sure it doesn’t slip back by fastening the straps to cover your forehead. You should not wear hats or large hair buns underneath the helmet as it will bring discomfort and the helmet may not fit perfectly. Reflective stickers should be placed on the helmets to help other motorist spot you easily.
WEAR THE RIGHT GEAR
Wear proper cycling shoes, sneakers are highly recommended. Slippers, flip-flops and heels should never be used as they have no grip. If possible, wear bright coloured clothes and reflectors, especially at night.This helps you get spotted by other road users hence avoiding getting ran over. Riding gloves and knee pads are essentials as they offer extra protection in case of an accident.
Bikes unlike cars, do not have indicators to signal change of directions. Hand signals are the turn indicators and brake lights for bikers. Before you change direction, always look behind with the side mirrors to help you calculate the turn. Make eye contact with other road users, especially at junctions, then you know they have seen you. Use your bell as not all pedestrians can see you. Give cyclists a wide berth when overtaking.