With the arrival of pleasant weather, more people are out on the streets, and many of them are astride bikes of all varieties. It’s important for adults and children alike to know the rules of the road for bicycle riders.
First off, everyone (kids and their parents) should make sure they wear a helmet when they ride. When bicyclists have accidents, helmets help reduce their severity, and often save lives. Don’t let your children pedal off without helmets.
It’s also crucially important for bike riders to make sure they can be seen by drivers. When you ride, wear bright, neon colors or a reflective vest, even during the day. Riding home at dusk, clip a flashing light to your bike. Bicyclists, unencumbered by doors and a roof, have a much larger field of vision than the drivers of cars, so just because you can see them doesn’t mean they can see you. Stand out. Be bright.
Because bikes share the street with four-wheeled vehicles, their riders must follow the same rules. That means riding on the right side of the road, going with the flow of traffic, and stopping at stop signs and red lights. Make sure to look in all directions before you make any turns, just as you would behind the wheel of a car. Learn and teach your children proper hand signals, so you all know how to let drivers know what you’re going to do next.
And by all means, take all this knowledge with you when you drive. Keep an eye out for bicyclists, especially younger ones. Kids — even those who’ve been properly instructed — often have less finely honed skills, and drivers must be more vigilant in neighborhoods where there are lots of children.
The rules of bike riding aren’t complicated, and following them can help keep everyone on the road safe. Looking a little dorky in a helmet is clearly worth it.