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Cycling to School Safely

Cycling to school is a great way to start the day while building independence and confidence in your child writes Geraldine Herbert

There has been an 86% drop in the number of children cycling to school according to recent CSO figures and while the lack of infrastructure and the danger from traffic due to driver behaviour, speed of cars and sheer volume is largely to blame its easy to forget just how much fun and healthy cycling to school is.

But before you send your child out for the first time, there are a few things to consider

1) If you child is new to cycling to school then you may want to think about, and plan, your route, it may not be the route you normally take to school but a quieter and safer one so take time to work out the best one.
2) Make sure your child’s bike is the right size, if it is too big it won’t be safe but it is too small you will be investing in another bike within months
3) Loosely-worn scarves could get caught in the wheels or chain-set so ensure your child is not wearing a scarf.
4) Ensure your child knows the rules of the road.
5) Encourage your child to do an ABC check on their bike before every journey – Check the tyre pressure, brakes and cogs and chains.

 

The right gear

Wear a helmet – A helmet won’t prevent accidents from happening but it can provide protection during low-speed impacts such as your child falling off their bike. Remember it must be properly fitting or it will do little to prevent injury.

Be Seen – Visibility is key so ensure your child wears fluorescent or light coloured clothing if they are cycling during the day or in poor light but if cycling at night your child should wear reflective clothing, fluorescent or light coloured clothing will not be visible

Light up – the most important safety item on your child’s bikes are lights so make sure the bike is fitted with lights. White to the front and red to the rear. Remember to change the batteries as soon the lights start to dim and to check that they are functioning effectively before setting off at night.

 

School Cyclebus Initiatives

We are very impressed with a volunteer run project that started recently in Galway city, Bus Rothaíochta na Gaillimhe, a community initiative whose aim is to get children of school going age cycling to and from school safely.  The Cycle Bus is  guided daily by volunteers from the local community and parents who join  for the spin, to ensure the children are  safe along the route, and help them:

  • improve their cycling skills;
  • develop road safety awareness;
  • build their confidence;
  • and show them that cycling is a fun, healthy activity, and an enjoyable and energetic way to start their day.

More information is available on their website and look out for initiatives like this in your area or even help to start one.

 

Geraldine Herbert

29th August 2019

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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