Bikes, Skates & Scooter Riding In The City
Bikes, Skates & Scooter Riding In The City
Pat Hines (Traffic Safety Educator & Executive Director, SafeMoves) gives expert video advice on: What is the safest way to ride bicycles with my children on city streets?; How far away should my child ride from parked cars? and more...
What rules should my child know about riding bikes, skateboards or scooters?
Whether your child is riding a bike, scooter, skateboard, or <a href="http://www.videojug.com/interview/roller-skating-and-inline-skating">rollerskating</a>, most cities have an ordinance that you cannot ride on the sidewalk in business districts. It's common sense. People are shopping. It's a crowded sidewalk. Most communities have laws that you cannot skate or ride in a business district. But get to know. Ask your local law enforcement, what are the rules that are governing scooter riding?
How should my child cross railroad tracks on his bicycle, skateboard or scooter?
With regards to bikes, skates and scooter riding in the city, no matter whether your child is on a bike, skateboard, rollerblades or a scooter, they need to climb off and walk safely across the railroad tracks. They need to look both ways and obey all traffic signs. The best advice I can give, is for children to avoid and stay away from railroad tracks. It's really tough to get across railroad tracks safely if you're riding a skateboard or rollerblade, or on skates, just avoid those areas. If you have to cross, make sure your climb off your bike, climb off your skateboard, climb off your scooter and look both ways before you cross, obeying all the railroad traffic signals before you do cross.
What is the safest way to ride bicycles with my children on city streets?
When you make the choice to ride on the street with your child, first of all you need to look at the traffic pattern. What time of day are you riding? Are you going to be riding in the business time when everyone's going home? Is it going to be crowded? But once you make that decision you're going to ride on the street, you need to look at where your child's going to ride in relationship to you. If your child is going to ride behind you, you make sure that they understand the basics of how close to stay to you. You don't want them too close, because if they touch your tire they're going to fall. You don't want them too far away so you can't communicate with them. So you make sure that they ride a safe distance, a foot, two feet from you so you can always communicate. Be very careful riding in the street with your child when you're going through an intersection. I always recommend if you're riding your bike with a child and going through a busy intersection, stop, get off your bike, get onto the sidewalk, cross together as pedestrians. You don't want to take a chance of you getting through the intersection safely, but the car not seeing your child which is much smaller than you. So use common sense. Try to make the safest move you can in traffic with your child, and that's always crossing from the intersection. When your child's older and they can be more easily seen by a car, then you can safely go through the intersection together, but otherwise cross at the crosswalk.
Where should my child ride his bicycle on city streets?
Making a decision when you ride on the street -- should your child be in front of you where you can see them, or in back of you where you can't see them? I personally would have my child ride in front of me, so I can watch the traffic around them and I can direct their movements. Some parents think, "Oh, it's better to ride them behind because I will let the car know I'm coming." I would much prefer to have my child where I can see them at all times. And again, I would never let my child ride through the intersection first. We would get off our bikes and walk our bikes through the crosswalk. But it's better to have your child in your sight. That's personal preference, but it's what I recommend.
How far away should my child ride from parked cars?
If you make a decision to ride with your child on the street, again it's important to know the traffic in your community. If it's too dangerous, don't ride in the street. But if you are forced to ride in the street, or if you live in a community where there are no other bike lanes, bike paths or sidewalks, once you make that decision you need to commit to it in a real safe way. Parked cars, even though they're parked, can be incredibly dangerous. Ride at least four feet away from a parked car. You want the driver to be able to open the door of a parked car and clear you. So don't ride a bike too close to parked cars. Also, a parked car can become a moving car very quickly. The driver can simply be in the parked car. You may not see them, and they could easily pull into traffic, never seeing you on your bike. So ride your bike a safe distance from a parked car, allowing you to manoeuvre safely around that parked car when it decides to move. But look at where you're riding. If you can ride on a bike path or in a bike lane, do it. Avoid street riding if you can, especially with your child. They're too small to be on the street.