Outdoor activities are great fun and an important addition to any homeschool curriculum. Kids should be encouraged to spend time outside whenever possible to promote physical, emotional, and social health. One of the most popular outdoor activities is bike riding which is fun, exciting, and a pleasurable form of exercise. It is important, however, to properly instruct your homeschooling child on bicycle safety.
First and foremost, the proper equipment should be used. If your child is not an experienced biker, then training wheels are a wonderful resource for teaching balance and promoting confidence on the bike. Helmets, knee and elbow pads, and other protective layers are essential to any safe bike ride. In some places, wearing a helmet is actually the law, so do some research about the laws in the state that you live in.
It is also very important for your homeschooling child to understand that when biking, he or she must be aware that there are other vehicles that use the road. This may seem like on obvious fact, but understanding how to share the road properly will ensure a fun safe bike ride. There are many tips that can help with this practice. Always bike with the traffic, meaning the direction the cars are going. This rule applies whether biking on the road, shoulder, or sidewalk. Try and avoid the busy streets or times of day when the roads are most congested, such as rush hour. When the streets are packed with cars, it limits the vision of the drivers and bikers can be easily overlooked. Drivers expect bikers to obey all traffic signals, signs, and stoplights, just as they are expected to do in their cars. For example, bikers are expected to stop at stop signs and red lights and use appropriate hand gestures as turn signals.
There are also many general rules to follow in order to promote safe bicycle habits. Riding at night is not a good idea because even with headlights, the vision of drivers at this time in limited. Bright clothing and light reflectors should be worn anytime of day while biking as an added measure of safety. While biking, both hands should be kept on the handlebars of the bike. Although it is fun to test your balance or try fun tricks, control can be lost and accidents may happen.
One final word of advice: make bicycling a family affair! The best way to teach your kids about bike safety is by example, helping kids see the importance and reason for the rules that you teach them. They are more than just words from a concerned parent. Biking can be a lot of fun and great exercise, so teach your kids how to best enjoy the experience.