Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage for children. It’s their first taste of independence and is a significant memory that will stick with them forever. It is for this reason, that we stress importance of teaching your child the correct way to ride a two-wheeler from the get-go. Here’s some common mistakes that parents make and how to amend them.
Not teaching them the rules of the road
Too often, we get caught up in the excitement of teaching our children how to ride, that we neglect the basic safety rules of the road. A 2008 report stated that bicycle accidents in Australia are the most common cause of injury in kids with most collisions occurring with stationary objects, other bicycles and pedestrians. Therefore, teaching your child the correct safety principles rather than just letting them rely on common sense, will help them in the long run. Experts normally suggest allowing them to hone their skills in an obstacle free park, a driveway or empty sport court. Here you’ll be able to teach them steering, balance, and pedalling without the pressure of being on the open road. It will allow time to correct mistakes before moving to the sidewalk and subsequently taking on the road. Once they are ready to use their push bike on the street, make them understand the importance of communicating with other commuters by signalling and shoulder checking.
Getting a bike that doesn’t fit
A first bike can be expensive and although it’s tempting to buy them a bike that they will grow in to, you are only hindering their ability to learn by doing so. A bike that is too large is particularly dangerous and they will only struggle when trying to control it. Ideally, there are three things to consider when choosing your child’s first bike. When they are fully seated on the bicycle, are their feet easily touching the ground? Are they able to able to grip the handle bars without having to stretch? Lastly, is the bike comfortable to sit on? Your local bike specialist will be able to help you choose the correct size, check out this website for more tips.
Not teaching them how to maintain a bike
It’s all good and well teaching them how to ride a bike, but what’s the use if they don’t know how to maintain it. What will they do if they get a flat tire? Or how will they determine whether a bicycle is safe to ride? General maintenance will help any bike last long and run smoother, so teach your kids how to check the tire pressure, if the breaks are working properly and how to recognize if there are any loose components of the bike.
Not leading by example
One of the best ways to teach your child how to ride safely is to lead by example. If you’re not wearing a helmet, will your child see the need to? Or if you don’t signal properly, will they think that it’s not important to do so? The same goes for having fun whilst riding. If you’re stressed out, not paying attention, or seem less than excited about the outing, your kids won’t find it very fun either.
Training your child how to ride a bike doesn’t have to be a chore. As long as you make it a positive experience for them, they’ll have a ball of a time figuring it out.
This post was not written by me. I was compensated for this post.