I read in the Huffington Post today, some very disturbing information. According to the article, 30 years ago, half of all children biked or walked to school regularly. Today, it’s just 13 percent.
It just goes to show you that kids are not getting the exercise that WE did when we were little! I used to walk every day to school, and it was a good 5 miles. (Okay, not in deep snow…it WAS So. California after all!)
But biking is making a comeback. First Lady Michelle Obama has advocated biking and walking to school as part of her Let’s Move initiative, and I think it’s great! So The Post also had some great tips for getting kids back on bikes! And I will gladly share:
Your children should have these items on each ride to ensure a safe trip to school.
Helmet: A properly fitting bike helmet has been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent. Bring your kids to your local bike shop with you so they can pick them out—they’ll be more likely to wear them if they helped choose them.
Lights: Front and rear lights will make your child more visible to motorists. Teach your kid to store the lights in his or her backpack during the day—they’re easy to yank off, and you’ll want to make sure you won’t have to replace them.
Bike Lock: To be sure your child’s bike will still be at the rack at the end of the school day, buy a lock.
Bell: A quick ding of a bell alerts pedestrians that a cyclist is coming their way on a shared-use path.
Arrange a RIDE POOL: Worried about your kid riding to school alone? Arrange a group ride with other children in your neighborhood. Parents can take turns leading the group.
Practice Safety Rules: Even kids who live too far from school to bike should learn the rules of the road. Teach your children how to signal and how to anticipate possible bike-car collisions.
Let them safetly goof off! The best way for your kids to learn bike-handling skills? Just let them ride. Take them to a grassy field or BMX park where they can fall without worrying about cars and road rash. They’ll build balance and confidence while having fun.
Ride with your kids! The best way to encourage your children to learn to love cycling: Ride with them! If they’re resisting, offer a reward—a 2-mile spin will suddenly seem fun if there’s an ice-cream shop along the route. Bonus: You’ll get fitter, too.
Now that last one is a good one! I can’t remember the last time I rode a bike, but it does sound like fun.