As a parent and an avid cyclist, you understand the dangers that you face when you ride your bike near traffic. There are a lot of drivers who will put you at risk by driving too close, tailgating, driving aggressively, completely failing to look for bikes and making all sorts of other mistakes. You can be a terrific cyclist and follow all of the rules of the road and these drivers still pose a constant risk.
Even so, you want your children to experience the fun and excitement of cycling. You hope that they will love it as much as you do, and it can be a great way to spend time together. So how do you teach them about cycling safely?
Explain the safest places to ride
First off, it helps to go over the safety features that already exist or the ones that are being constructed to keep cyclists safe. For instance, maybe they’ve recently installed protected bike lanes near your house. Making sure that your children understand that it’s far safer to ride in these lanes can help them use this infrastructure to avoid an accident.
Stress the importance of wearing a helmet
Many people are resistant to wearing bike helmets because they trust in their own ability to ride safely. Your child may tell you that they don’t need to wear the helmet because they simply won’t crash. This confidence is good, but bike helmets are still very important in preventing serious head injuries. It may help to explain to your children how most of the risk they face comes from other drivers and they can’t necessarily avoid that risk. They need to be ready if they get hit.
Ride with your children
One of the best things you can do is simply to spend time cycling with your children. You can show them by example how to ride safely, and you can help them navigate confusing situations. They’re watching everything that you do, and simply being an example of safety yourself can make them far better at riding this way.
That said, even the safest cyclist to do get hit by negligent drivers, so it’s important to also understand the legal options you have if you or your child suffers serious injuries.