Friday, 18 May 2012

6 Rules Your Kid should follow while riding Bicycle on Road

Written by Anil Singh

On Friday, USA will be celebrating National Bike To Work Day. (Bike actually means a bicycle, a motorbike means a motorcycle). It’s America’s way of saluting those who commute on two wheels every day.

India doesn’t have a biking or bicycling culture though. Here only those people are seen cycling who can’t afford a motorized two wheeler. Earlier, about a decade ago, children used to bicycle to their school and tuitions, but not any more. With the children, especially belonging to the middle class quickly graduating to a motorcycle or a scooter, while still in school.

Call it a lack of responsibility on the part of parents, general disrespect for rules, time scarce kids or ‘no special provision for cyclists on Indian roads’, the very healthy and safe mode of transport, the humble bicycle is heading to oblivion in India.

But, it should be understood that if rode rightly, a bicycle is much safer than a motorcycle or a scooter, especially for a school going kid.

It’s much better option for the kid as well, not only from health and safety point of view, but also from “remaining grounded” point of view (Pricey items given to a child during growing up years, makes him/her irresponsible). Hence every parent can contemplate encouraging his/her child to ride a bicycle.

6 Rules Your Kid should follow while riding Bicycle on Road

Like any other form of transportation, taking certain cautionary measures is advised when cycling. The following safety tips ensure safe cycling:

1) Ride in a straight line, obey traffic signs and signals, and do not weave in and out of traffic. Riding predictably reduces your chances of a crash with a motor vehicle.

2) Look, signal and look again before changing lanes or making a turn. Establish eye contact with drivers. Seeing a driver is often not enough. Make sure drivers see you before executing a turn or riding in front of a turning car.

3) Watch out for car doors. Be prepared for the possibility that a car door may be opened in your path. When possible, leave room between yourself and parked cars (3 feet is generally recommended) so that you can avoid a door that opens unexpectedly.

4) Stay visible. Wear brightly colored clothing for daytime riding. At night, use reflective materials and lights. At night wearing a fluorescent jacket or white colored shirt is good. [Once I was on a scooter on highway at night. All of a sudden I saw a man riding a bicycle only metres ahead of me. And know what, the guy was wearing a black shirt and dark brown trousers.]

5) Use Your bell. Your bell alerts drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists to your presence.

6) Don't wear earphones. Keeping your ears clear is a much safer choice.

7) Wear a helmet. Helmets are required by law for children age 13 or younger and working cyclists, helmets are a good idea for cyclists of all ages.

NOTE: Most of the above rules apply to driving a Scooter or motorcycle as well.

As adults, we can also adopt cycling. How about a gorgeous over sized basket in front large enough for groceries and pets, or taking kids to various destinations around the city for a weekly picnic, exploring and learning.

And BTW, when you buy a bicycle for your kid buy him/her a bicycle helmet and a fluorescent jacket as well. And one thing, if you want the child to bicycle with delight, make sure you buy him/her a bicycle the kid likes and not the one you see durable or rightly priced. That apart, educate the kid on the benefits of cycling. To set an example use bicycle for your Office round the corner.

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