On May 9, students in Atlanta and throughout the country will celebrate the first ever National Bike to School Day. The event, part of National Bike Month, is designed to promote healthy communities while teaching children about alternative transportation options.
Teaching kids to bike regularly at a young age is an excellent idea. Biking is great exercise and a good source of low-cost family fun. However, Atlanta bicycle accidents are a real possibility, so the activity always needs to be undertaken with an eye toward safety.
Teaching children how to bike safely is even more important if parents won’t be accompanying them on their journey. If your children like to ride bikes, make sure they understand the following safety rules:
- Stay away from traffic: Kids should never ride on busy streets, and should use sidewalks or bike paths whenever practical.
- Be predictable: Teach kids to ride in a straight line and to use hand signals when turning and stopping.
- Be visible: Children should always wear brightly colored clothing when biking. You may also want to consider adding reflective stickers or flashing lights to their equipment.
- Be alert: Make sure kids understand that they are never allowed to wear headphones or use a cellphone while biking.
- Use the right equipment: Helmets only work if they fit properly and are worn correctly. Growing children will periodically need new bike helmets. Furthermore, it is important to choose a bike that is the right size for your child’s body.
Of course, teaching kids to be safe is only half the battle. All drivers have a duty to be on the lookout for bicyclists and to take steps to avoid causing personal injury to others on the road.
Drivers should not assume that children have the requisite skills to be in safe control of their bikes. Children are more likely to fall, swerve or dart out into traffic. As such, drivers should slow down and give a wide berth whenever they see kids on bikes.
Following these tips will help keep kids safe this summer. However, if the unthinkable occurs and your child does get injured in an accident with a negligent driver, he or she may have recourse to recover damages. If an accident happens, contact an Atlanta personal injury attorney who can help you understand your rights.