August 27, 2021
Back to school means lots of kids walking or riding bikes within our communities. Even in the safest neighborhoods, children should learn to be aware of their surroundings when they’re in or near the street.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks in your neighborhood, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
- Children under 10 should cross the street with an adult.
- Encourage kids to be especially alert for cars that are turning or backing up.
- Teach kids not to run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
- Have kids wear light or brightly colored clothing and reflective gear, especially when it’s dark outside.
- Put away phones, headphones and devices when crossing the street.
- Be aware of others who may be distracted.
- If kids need to use a cell phone, teach them to stop walking and find a safe area away from traffic to talk or text.
Whether it’s riding bikes to their school, the playground or to a friend’s house, following a few safety tips can help continue to make your kid’s childhood a magical time.
- Helmets: The best tip for bicycle safety is to wear a helmet. Talk to your kids about helmet expectations and let them pick a cool helmet they’ll want to wear.
- Signaling: Just like we prepare our 16-year-olds for the road, we need to teach our young bicycle riders how to ride safely – especially near cars. Since bikes don’t have blinkers like cars do, cyclists have to rely on three left-hand signals to get the message across.
- Turning left: The arm is straight out.
- Turning right: The arm is bent upward, elbow at a 90-degree angle.
- Stopping: Bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle, this time with the hand pointing down.
- Be visible: Just because you can see another driver doesn’t mean they can see you. Wear bright clothing and/or reflective tape to increase your visibility, and always be aware of cars when you ride.
Rules of the road for bicycling
- Always ride with the traffic flow.
- Obey all traffic laws.
- Yield to traffic when appropriate.
- Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars.
- Stay alert. Use your eyes and ears.
- Look before turning.
- Watch for parked cars.
Sidewalk vs. street
The safest place for bicycle riding is on the street. But children less than 10 years old are not usually mature enough to make the decisions necessary to safely ride in the street, so they’re better off on the sidewalk. Watch for cars coming out of or turning into driveways. Stop at corners of sidewalks and streets to look for cars; make sure the driver sees you before crossing. Enter a street at a corner and not from between parked cars.
All of us at Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods wish you a happy, healthy and safe school year!