Cycling to school can be great for your kids. However, it wouldn’t be sensible to ignore the fact that letting your dearest children out onto the road on their own needs a bit of consideration! With a bit of thought and planning, you can help them to be as safe as possible while they’re out riding. Just remember – not being active is many times more dangerous than cycling to school!
- Where are they going?
Firstly, it’s a good idea to check out the route your children would use to get to school. How busy are the roads? Are there cycle paths? Does it go through a bad area of town? It might be worth them going a little bit further for a safer and more enjoyable route. If they’re having a good time, they’re much more likely to keep it up!
As well as working out a route, find out what the cycle storage is like at your school. Will your children have somewhere to safely lock their bikes when they arrive? Ask at the school if there isn’t an obvious place – they should be happy to help!
- Essential accessories
Just like any other cyclist, it’s strongly recommended that children wear helmets while cycling, and front and rear lights are a legal requirement if visibility is poor!
- Carrying their things (and keeping clean!)
Also have a think about how they’re going to carry their things – as long as they don’t have to bring a stack of books every day, they should be fine with a rucksack. If there’s a bit more stuff to bring, maybe think about adding panniers to the bike to help carry the weight more comfortably. While you’re at it, you might want to add mudguards to keep their uniforms clean in the wet.
- Confident riders are safe riders
Arguably the most important point is making sure that your child is confident and educated in riding on the road or cycle path. Speak to your school to see if there’s a Bikeability class or something similar nearby, which is specifically designed to help people learn to stay safe and be confident on their bikes. Ask about how your school supports kids who cycle in, and you might be surprised to find classes or clubs that can help!
- The first time out
For the first few times, it’s a good idea to ride with your kids to school, to help them learn the route and make sure they’re safe. Over time, you can just ride part of the way until they’re happy on their own. It’s also a great idea to see if you can work with other parents to get your kids to ride together with their friends, both for fun and improved safety!
So, what are you waiting for?
It might be a bit of a leap to begin with, but getting your kids routinely active at an early age can change their lifestyle for the better for years to come, so why not give cycling to school a try?
Here at Halfords we also offer free kids bike workshops during half terms and summer holidays to help young people learn how to look after their bikes and avoid any breakdowns on the way!
If you need any of the essentials, like a bike, helmet, lights or anything else, head over to our site and have a browse! We’ve also got loads more advice on children’s cycling to help you along the way.