In recent years, cycling has become a popular pastime, especially as anyone can participate, and on a sunny weekend, what could be better than going for a ride with your family? While many families go to bicycle parks or tracks, cycling to these venues is often half the fun, which means going on our roads. But, before doing this, knowing how to be safe on your bike is crucial – because accidents can happen.
Start with a helmet – if you or a family member falls, it can help prevent any major head injuries. Make sure that the helmet fits correctly – you don’t want it to be too big or too small.
Be visible. Wear bright clothes and place reflectors on your bike. If people can see you, they’re less likely to run into you. Daytime riding is the safest, so avoid cycling at dusk or later.
Imperial Road Safety offers these other safety tips for cycling with your children:
- Always stop to “look right, left and right again”, to check for traffic in both directions, especially when leaving your driveway or a curb.
- Always cross the road at intersections.
- Walk your bike across busy intersections, using the crosswalk and following traffic signals.
- Ride on the left-hand side of the street, so you travel in the same direction as the cars. Nevercycle against traffic.
- Don’t ride too close to parked cars. Doors can suddenly open.
- Stop at all stop signs and obey traffic lights.
- Ride single file on the street.
- Learn some hand signals for cyclists – they help drivers know what you will do next, so they don’t drive into you.
- Don’t take younger children on main or traffic-heavy roads.
- Various bike seats are available for younger children – choose what will suit your family best and what is the safest.
- Ensure younger children understand parent signals and comments/instructions when riding in public areas.
Safety and risks vary based on several factors, such as province, road structure and time of day, so, it’s important to plan your cycling adventures and ensure safety decisions are paramount. Cycling is a great way to not only keep fit and healthy, but to bond as a family, so enjoy every minute together!
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.