Dear Parent (English)

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Dear Parent:

You are the best person to teach your child how to safely ride a bicycle. Your child’s bicycle is a vehicle from the moment you give him one, and your child is the driver. By law, he or she has all the responsibilities and rights given to drivers of motor vehicles.

Children learn at different levels, and only you can determine when he or she is ready to take to the road. The best way to find out is to ride with your child, and help him or her remember how to obey the rules of the road. Here are some tips that can help you understand why child riders crash and why they react differently in traffic:

THE FOUR MAJOR CAUSES OF CAR/BIKE CRASHES FOR KIDS 14 AND YOUNGER:

  1. Bicyclist fails to stop or yield at an intersection.
  2. Bicyclist fails to stop or yield mid-block (like from a sidewalk driveway).
  3. Motorist fails to yield to the bicyclist.
  4. Bicyclist turning/merging into path of motorist without looking.

NINE THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT KIDS AND TRAFFIC:

  1. Young children can’t see things out of the corners of their eyes as well as adults can.
  2. They often have trouble telling from what direction a sound – such as a horn or siren – is coming.
  3. Most lack a sense of danger.
  4. Children can be restless and have trouble waiting for traffic lights to change or long lines of traffic to pass.
  5. Most children have trouble grasping complex chains of events, especially before age 9.
  6. Children have trouble judging the speed and distance of oncoming cars. Stopped cars and moving cars can look the same.
  7. They tend to focus only on what interests them – such as their friend waiting across the street -- rather than the cars in front of them.
  8. Children often mix fantasy with reality.
  9. Children believe grownups always look out for them.

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Copyright “The Bicycle Lady,” e-mail bikesnyder@yahoo.com for reprint permission.

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