How To Teach Your Child About Cycling Safety
Teaching your children how to ride a bike is such a big milestone for a parent. It’s almost a right of passage. We are not born with an ability to do this and I think for many children learning how to ride a bike is a really important lesson for a number of reasons.
The trying, failing and trying again. The step by step process. I can vividly remember my own parent unscrewing my stabilisers. In my little world that felt huge. The sense of accomplishment when you finally master the art of cycling is enormous. Sharing that experience with your own child is really quite special.
There are so many benefits to cycling in general. It is an excellent form of exercise which can have a profound effect on your physical health. Cycling is also great for your mental health. As well as the endorphins and feel good factor it is an empowering and freeing experience to move through nature feeling the wind against your face.
It can be a really relaxing and beautiful experience. The environmental benefits are also undeniable. When people are using cycling as their mode of transport there are fewer people using cars and that has a positive effect on the atmosphere. Teaching our children about these things is very exciting.
Many parents want cycling to be an important part of their children’s lives from a young age. Many parents will cycle with their children to and from school as well as encouraging family cycles at the weekend. It can become a really important part of family life and a wonderful hobby to share.
When sharing the joy of cycling with your children it is important that they learn the safety considerations. Teaching our children about cycling safety is of paramount importance to ensure that their cycling journey is healthy, happy and safe.
Here are some tips as to how you can teach your children about cycling safety.
1. Insist that from day one your child wears a helmet. If this is normalized from the very beginning it will never be questioned. Wearing a helmet saves lives and should be an absolute given. For this reason, it is important that you too wear a helmet at all times while cycling as children mimic what their parents do.
2. Emphasise the importance of “being seen”. High visibility and reflective clothing ensure that your child stands out and can be seen while they are cycling. This is an important factor in keeping them safe.
3. Bike lighting is another important element of “being seen”. Work together to set the bike up with good quality lighting on the front and back of the bike. Make it a priority to turn the lights on before any cycle begins. It is also a good idea to regularly check the batteries of the lights. Doing this together as a team effort will reiterate the importance of bike lighting.
4. The importance of speed. Teaching your children about the dangers and responsibilities of speed is very important. While cycling fast can be very exciting and exhilarating it is also very dangerous. Cycling at a safe and responsible speed is imperative.
5. Road positioning and the rules of the road should be introduced as early as possible. Pointing out red lights, road signs and the correct way to obey the rules should be spoken about regularly.
6. Respecting other road users. Lead by example and avoid arguments with other road users and cyclists.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.