If you feel your child is ready, don’t hesitate to begin lessons on bicycle safety. Every year there are more than 200 bike related deaths involving kids under 15. Over 300,000 kids per year are treated for a bike related injury at an hospital or emergency care center with over 8,000 needing hospitalization.
It’s believed that the figures would more than double if kids did not use bicycle helmets. Helmets save lives and there is no reason not to demand that your child wear one, no matter how much they protest.
If you are going to teach your child to ride a bike, make sure the lesson begins with teaching bike safety. The most important lessons of bike safety can be taught to kids who are as young as three. The first lesson can be taught by example when a child’s parent regularly wears their bike helmet when riding.
While very young children might not be ready to learn all there is to know about bicycle safety, they can begin to grasp important concepts. In addition to consistent helmet use, mom and dad can drill their kids on the basics of bike safety. Point out safe zones for riding (sidewalks). Always make safe stops at intersections and remind your child why you do this
Learning balance is a critical aspect or learning to ride a bicycle, but surviving is an even more important skill to learn. Make teaching your child how to avoid a collision a top priority.
These recommendations from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI) are rules worth following:
1. Always stop before riding into the street.
2. Obey stop signs.
3. Check behind you before swerving, turning or changing lanes.
4. Always ride on the right side of the street.
5. Never follow another rider without obeying rules 1-4.
Your three-year-old son or daughter is certainly capable of learning to ride a bike, especially if they begin on a balance bike. However, young kids don’t have the capacity to understand the danger of the activity. They don’t understand how to protect themselves.
Make bike safety an important part of every bike riding lessons. Show them the safe areas to ride, how and when to stop and remind them of the rules to avoid a crash.