Bicycle Riding Parents May Get Their Kids Killed


Bicycle Riding Parents May Get Their Kids KilledBicycle riding is a great way to get exercise, a cost effective way to get around and a chance to enjoy the great outdoors…but it may kill your kids!

Of all the bicycle riders I have seen in my city over the past few years, only a tiny fraction of them have actually come to a full stop at a stop sign.  They usually slow down, take a quick look to see if there are any cars and zoom right through.  Others will slow down, make eye contact with the driver and zoom right through the intersection even if they don’t have the right of way.  It’s just pure laziness.

Some even like riding on the sidewalk because they feel the streets are too dangerous.  Of course, they have no consideration for the people on the sidewalk who aren’t expecting to get run over by a bicycle from behind but many bicyclists feel it’s their right to travel anywhere they want.

Over the years I have seen a lot of parents riding their bikes with their kids and it looks like they’re having fun.  Rarely do I ever see a bicycling family approach an intersection and come to a complete stop as the law requires.  One adult will scope out the intersection first and give the kids the okay to go right through.  When there are cars, one adult will even try to make eye contact with the driver and slowly continue through without stopping while the kids just follow right behind.

Do these people not understand that bicyclists must follow the same rules as motor vehicle drivers?  Do they think that a stop sign is just a suggestion?  Do they think their helmet and spandex pants will protect them against a vehicle surrounded by metal and weighing over a ton?

Cyclists like to brag about how much exercise they get but almost everyone that I’ve seen on a bike never stops at a stop sign.  Many will just go through a red light if there are no cars coming at them.  Now that’s just lazy.  My personal favorite is when the spandex covered, wind resistant helmet wearing, wrap around sunglass, Tour de France loving cyclist don’t want to unclip their foot strap to stop so they hug a post or start jumping up and down so they don’t have to come to a complete stop.  If you are dressed like that, you probably shouldn’t be riding in a city.

When I was a kid, the police would host bicycle rodeos at our school.  They would explain the rules; show us what to do and have us all do it so that we understood.  Not once do I remember the officer saying that it’s okay to fly right through an intersection as long as the driver knows you want to go.  I do however remember them saying that bikes belonged on the road and not the sidewalk.  I wonder why they don’t offer that at schools today.

Now with such an emphasis on bicycle riding, you would think that every city would take the initiative to teach school age kids the rules of the road.  The bicycle safety course I took was over 40 years ago so there have been a few generations since then that may not know what the actual rules so how are they going to teach their kids?

If you’re a parent who likes to ride a bicycle with their kids on the street, take a few minutes to do an online search on safe bicycle riding.  Teach your kids the right way to bike safely.  Chances are that you are a licensed car driver so the rules are actually the same.  If you don’t, you are only setting your kids up for a serious and even deadly lesson.

This article has been updated from a previous posting from June 2013.

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