Many parents cycle with their child (ren) to school. There are also many parents who bring their child to school by car or by bus. Sometimes it cannot be otherwise. That does not mean that their children will also have to learn to participate independently in traffic at a later date. That is very important. Nonetheless, learning the basic rules of traffic and making sure that your kids are well geared up is a good start. Here’s a great resource for the best helmets to protect your child.
Bicycle Rules Of The Road
Children Vulnerable In Traffic
Children are very vulnerable to traffic. Because they don’t always think first before they do, they can sometimes cross over suddenly. Fatigue and reduced concentration also play a role. Recent research has shown that more accidents occur with children on bicycles on the way home from school than vice versa.
Young children still have a lot of experience in traffic. Their sense of danger is still limited. In higher classes of primary school, traffic lessons are usually given and there is also a bicycle exam.
It is difficult for children to immediately use what they have learned in practice. Good practice and guidance by parents and teachers, therefore, remain very important. Veilig Verkeer Nederland and the ANWB have special traffic education programs for primary schools in collaboration with parents. They also provide guidelines on their websites to safely cycle to school.
It is good to first read the basic rules of traffic together. Stop for the red light, indicate direction when turning, both hands on the wheel. Also contacting other road users can sometimes be useful: has the other person seen me and do I get priority?
Calling, tapping or listening to music on the bike is very dangerous. All attention is needed for traffic. It is good to tell children about the blind spot and to teach them not to stand next to a bus or truck because the driver cannot see them.
Children can gain as much experience as possible in traffic by regularly cycling with their parents. To cycle to school, it is good to choose the safest route, even though it may take a little longer. It is better to choose a road where there is a clear cycle path than where cyclists have to take the road.
It is also wise to practice the drive to and from school. It is useful to do this at a quiet moment, outside rush hour. By practicing a lot and setting a good example as parents, children gain traffic insight.
During the exercise, parents can teach their child which points to pay extra attention to and why. “Cars usually come around the corner, so slow down first and see if you have to stop.”
After the trip, it is good to check how it went. “What went well and what should you pay more attention to next time?”
It is different per age phase that can be expected from a child in traffic. Children up to the age of 4 cannot estimate the dangers yet: they simply cross over, without first checking whether it is safe.
They can carry out short assignments. By repeating it, they remember it: stop in front of the red light, press the button and only continue when the traffic light is green. Even if children go on the back of the bicycle or in the car, parents can already tell.
Children between the ages of 4 and 8 can cross the road better and better. They still need guidance.