The warmer weather has kids geared up for biking, but safety is being urged.
May 22, 2019, was no ordinary day at B.X. Elementary School for the Kindergarten to grade 3 classes. The Regional District of North Okanagan held a bike rodeo for the students which included instructions on how to do hand signals, how to stop, look and cross a street with their bikes, and how to make safe turns on tight paths. The workshop is an annual learning event led by the RDNO’s Safe Communities Coordinator Mike Moyer.
“It’s great to spend the day teaching children the basics of bike safety in a fun environment. They are eager to learn their hand signals and expressed that they are excited to get out and go on bike rides with their parents and friends,” said Moyer.
“The bike rodeo is an awesome program and the timing is great. As it gets warmer out, the kids are out on their bikes more often and can always use this refresher to stay safe and have fun,” said Christine Trickey, Grade 1-2 teacher, BX Elementary.
When Trickey’s class was asked about their favourite parts of the day, the obstacle course set out with sponges was a crowd pleaser. One daring student even said that he preferred the “sketchy parts with the sharp turns.” The comment heard most from the students was that they “loved the whole thing!”
Share Moyer’s top safety tips with your young cyclists:
Ride with Traffic
The law requires all bicyclists to ride on the right-hand side of the road with traffic. Riding against traffic has been shown to be a contributing factor in one out of every five bike/car crashes.
Stop and Look Before Entering a Street
Riding into the street from a driveway without stopping is the cause of half the bike fatalities of kids eight and under. It accounts for about one-third of serious crashes involving children eight to twelve. Get in the habit of always stopping and looking for traffic at the end of a driveway, parking lot, or alley.
Stop at all Stop Signs and Red Lights
Often, kids break this rule when riding with friends or when they are distracted. This is another major cause of bike/car collisions involving children. Stopping for traffic control devices should be stressed so that it becomes a reflex; it will also stop them from being ticketed!
Learn To Scan – Look Behind For Traffic
Many kids have been taught to signal before turning, but not enough attention has been placed on looking behind them first. Explain to your child that a signal will not guarantee that a car will stop for you. You have to make sure nobody is coming from behind before making the turn.
Wear a Helmet
Helmets save lives. Seventy-five per cent of all serious bicycle injuries involve a head injury that might have been prevented, if the bicyclist was wearing a helmet. It is highly recommended that bicyclists of all ages wear a CPSC approved helmet while bicycling, especially parents and other adults who set an example for others.
The RDNO is happy to host a bike rodeo at any elementary school in the electoral areas. If you are interested, please contact Mike Moyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.