Back-To-School By Bike: Tips and Tools To Get To Class Safely
If your kids aren’t back in class yet now, they will be soon! Riding to school is an easy way to work in more confidence, more activity, and more independence for kids. Here’s how to make it safe.
Plenty of us did it our entire childhoods. We woke up, had breakfast, and rode our bikes to school. Now that we’re the ones waiting in car drop-off lines, we wonder why our kids aren’t doing the same thing. True, many families just live too far from their kids’ schools to make walking or riding plausible. But there are many families that do live within a two or three mile radius of class that still bus or drive their kids in. The biggest factor is often the perception of safety; can my kid safely get from home to class without being in danger?
We put together a few easy tips to make your child’s first day of school their first time riding in.
Route Recon. Map out the safest route possible and practice the route with your child a few times. Talk about important landmarks that will help keep them on track; reference streets names, businesses, or unique homes along the right that will help them be aware of their surroundings. The first few times you ride it, consider bringing sidewalk chalk and marking turns at intersections. Finally, challenge your child to lead the way and have them tell you how they get to school.
Equipment Check. Aside from their surroundings, having your child be aware of their equipment is also vital for a safe ride. Make sure their bike is in good working over, fits well, and that your child knows how to overcome minor mishaps like a dropped chain. Additionally, make sure their helmet fits properly, even if cold weather requires something covering their ears. Finally, make sure they’re visible; opt for bright clothing and a bright backpack, and consider adding reflective strips to bags or even the bike itself. Lights, especially a red rear light, are an easy way to make your child as visible as possible.
Apps. Not every parent has the time each morning to ride with their kid to school. If your child is ready to ride to school alone, it’s often a good idea to ask them to check in. Using Apps like Life360 even offer real-time tracking and can automatically alert when your child leaves home, arrives at school, or deviates from their planned route.
Planning ahead, being prepared, and empowering your child can make riding to school a safe way to get around that might even help you free up some time in your day. Reach out to your school to learn more about cycling initiatives that might already be in place, and consider organizing a bike train to allow your neighbors to add even more safety in numbers.