May is National Bike Month. With most children now out of school, those that are just learning to ride their bikes need to know the rules of the rode.
Teaching a child to ride a bicycle can be a very rewarding experience.
But safety comes first.
Here are some suggestions from the League of American Bicyclists about children and bikes.
Once a child can hold their head up and fit a helmet, they can be a passenger.
Until about age five, kids should ride in a child seat, or better yet, a trailer.
Kids need basic motor skills to operate a bike.
Explain to kids how traffic works; they have only been passengers.
Teach them about yielding, passing, predicting and traffic law.
Bicycle riders have to obey the same rules as cars and buses.
Let them pick out their helmet and they will want to wear it; wear yours also.
Make sure that the helmet fits the child properly; level on the head and snug.
Replace the helmet after a crash.
Training wheels help the child develop a sense of balance.
Start with the training wheels solidly on the ground; they will hold the bike upright.
Gradually raise the training wheels; remove them when they start to get in the way.
Practice balancing in an open field or vacant parking lot.
Have the child practice riding in circles as well as in a straight line.
Show them how to use the brakes; get them to skid the rear wheel.
Starting and Stopping
Children should learn to stop before entering the roadway.
Look left, then right, then left again before proceeding.
Driveways, sidewalks and crosswalks are potential danger zones.
Use a painted line in a parking lot.
Straight-line riding will allow drivers to predict what the child will do.
Predictability is important in any traffic situation; kids don't know this.
Scanning and Signaling
Have the child ride straight and look back at you without swerving.
Children must scan for traffic in front of them as well as behind before signaling.
Teach them how to signal right, left and stop and when to do it.
Plan a ride with your child around you neighborhood and discuss possible dangers.
Allow your child to lead.
Include them in the planning of the ride.
Bikes are vehicles; this is their introduction to driver's training.
Plan a route with your child to get them to a friend's house or school by bike.
At about 10, kids are ready for longer trips; make sure they make safe decisions.