There are so many benefits to allowing your children to ride their bikes to school—and especially if you are close by with nice bike paths along the way. The morning and afternoon rides give children a chance to establish independence, along with freeing parents from school traffic and waiting in the all-too-familiar carline. Not only must they navigate on their own back and forth and follow traffic rules, but they learn to be responsible about being on time, parking and locking their bikes and being responsible about their own property. The exercise quotient is just as important too, especially today when physical education is being cut in many schools, leaving kids without an outlet to get moving in the fresh air.
Riding bikes can offer a great social outlet too as kids make new friends and begin meeting up to ride together, forming safe buddy systems. And while riding bikes as a form of transportation is a wonderful part of childhood for kids, unfortunately, there is the safety issue to worry about. This usually begins as soon as your child learns how to ride. It’s hard to know who feels more anxiety, the child or the parent, as kids begin the first bike ride without training wheels—often ending up with a skinned arm or knee (if they aren’t covered in protective padding from head to toe!).
Your child should be smart about safety from the beginning, taking measures to include:
- Always wearing a helmet – this will help avoid such injuries as concussion or traumatic brain injuries, which can have long-lasting health consequences.
- Understanding traffic rules – riding a bike to school should not be an option until you are sure your child understands how to follow a route, wait for lights and cross intersections, follow instructions from safety guards, and most importantly, use hand signals.
- Using a bell and lights when necessary – this allows the bicyclist to alert others of their presence with a loud bell, as well as using lights in poor weather, at dusk, or in the dark.
- Bicycle maintenance – younger children may need more help with this, but the seat should be at the proper height, tires should have the proper amount of air, and all the other components such as the brakes should be in good working order.
- Pack efficiently – make sure there is an area for books, a water bottle, and more, or better yet—a snugly fitting backpack that eliminates the need to worry about loose items flying away during the ride.
There are thousands of injuries caused by bicyclists being hit by cars each year, and children can be particularly vulnerable—including when traveling on foot. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!
All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.