From Newark Police
School is right around the corner and so are children biking to school. Be aware!
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association encourages bicycling as an alternative mode of transportation to motor vehicle travel and encourages the adoption of mutual respect between motorists and bicyclists to enhance safety for all road users, including bicyclists. Bicycles on the roadway are, by law, vehicles with the same rights, and responsibilities as motorized vehicles.
Police officers, parents and educators should encourage and focus on the safe behaviors of bicyclists to reduce bicycle injuries and fatalities on our city’s roadways.
Did you know?
- The 630 pedal cyclist deaths nationwide in 2009 accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities during that year.
- 51,000 pedal cyclists were injured nationwide in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2009; 17 percent (or about 8,000) of the pedal cyclists who were injured were age 14 and younger.
- Bicycle helmet laws have proved effective in increasing bicycle helmet use.
The following information offers helpful guidelines for educating parents, teachers and children on safe ways to walk and bike to school.
- Know your kid's route and time it takes to ride it, and require that they do not deviate from the established path or timeline. If your kid rides a bike to school or home, practice the route before the start of school and know where any crossing guards or help might be. If a younger child is riding a bike to a neighbor’s home and you are not monitoring the ride personally, require a phone call once the child arrives.
- Drill your child of appropriate bike safety rules. If possible, have your child attend a bike safety class. The often-called bike rodeos provide an excellent training opportunity for kids.
- Be sure your kid rides with traffic, is aware of motorists, and obeys all traffic laws. Be sure your kid knows not to stop and talk with anyone they do not know personally for their own personal safety.
- Prohibit riding double or stunt riding. These actions create the opportunity for accidents waiting to happen.
- Have your youngster understand that bike safety rules are just that and not an option. It is recommended that parents discuss privileges and consequences to riding without a helmet, riding with inappropriate clothing or footwear, or not following general safety regulations.
- Ride with your child! Parents can always use the extra exercise, and a bicycle ride creates an opportunity for parent-child involvement and good quality conversation time.
Finally, have a bike safety contingency plan...just in case! Does your child know a certain neighbor whose home can be considered a "safe house" in the event of a bike issue?
Parents should provide their kids with "what if" scenarios they can think through...just in case the unthinkable happens.
When it comes to bike safety and your kid's well-being, there is no such thing as being over-prepared.