Road Rules to Teach Your Kids
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Last updated: February, 2024
Teaching your children about road rules is a crucial aspect of their overall education. As they grow and become more independent, understanding and following road rules becomes paramount for their safety and the safety of others. In this guide, we will explore essential road rules to instill in your kids, ensuring they develop responsible pedestrian habits from an early age.
Pedestrian Road Rules
Always looking both ways before crossing the street is one of the most important traffic safety rules that most parents teach their children. Teaching them to look left, right, and left again before crossing will even go a long way toward achieving this goal. It’s also a good idea to make eye contact with drivers if they’re crossing at a stoplight or crosswalk to make sure they see you. As long as they are available, you should always walk on designated pathways or sidewalks. In the absence of sidewalks, pedestrians should move as close to the side of the road as they can while still facing traffic.
Another problem is parked cars, whether they are in a parking lot or by the side of the road. It is important to teach kids that it is never okay to run out into the street or to cross in between parked cars where it is difficult to see them. Teach young children to hold hands in parking lots from an early age. Have kids hold on to your bag’s strap or an item of clothing, like a belt loop, to keep them close if your hands are full.
Older children need to learn to travel with alertness because they are starting to leave the house on their own. Although it can be risky, older children and teenagers may find it tempting to use their phones or other electronics while they are out and about. Teach children that before crossing the street, they should take off their headphones or turn down the music.
We must use both our eyes and ears to observe; if a car is speeding toward you as you are about to cross the street, you are much more likely to hear it before you see it. It’s crucial to put away phones and other electronics when crossing the street. Teach children to stop walking and step to the side when using their phones in order to make calls or send texts.
A child’s degree of independence will vary depending on several factors, including the level of responsibility they have demonstrated and the volume of activity in the area. If you think your child isn’t ready for a phone yet, you might think about getting them a smartwatch or packing a GPS tracker in their backpack so they can go more places on their own. These gadgets allow you to stay connected while allowing your children some freedom.
Basic Road Rules for Pedestrians
Cycling Road Rules
Whether your child is a toddler or an adolescent, the most important safety rule to enforce with bikes is that they always wear helmets. According to one study, bicycle accidents resulted in 2.2 million hospital admissions for children in the US over a nine-year period, or 600 cases per day on average. Eleven percent of cases involved traumatizing brain injuries, and the majority of TBIs—nearly half—occurred in people between the ages of 10 and 14.
Kids need to understand the value of a bike helmet because this is the age range when they start to become more independent and are more likely to ride bikes with friends than under parental supervision. Children are more likely to follow through as they get older if you start early and set the expectation that you never ride a bike without a helmet when they are toddlers. Up to 90% of the risk of injury can be avoided with a helmet.
Make sure the helmet you purchase fits properly because kids are more likely to wear one if it is comfortable. When they look up, they should be able to see the edge of the helmet, which should be positioned about an inch above their eyebrows. Many helmets are adjustable, so you can be sure to get the ideal fit, especially for young children and toddlers. These days, there are a ton of awesome designs to choose from, including helmets that resemble mohawks and beloved cartoon characters. Older children might enjoy selecting a solid-colored helmet in the style of a skateboard and decorating it with stickers.
When riding a bike, it’s critical to be seen by passing cars. The majority of bikes come with reflectors built into the wheels, but if you or your children want to go out late, you can buy extra ones. It can also be beneficial to put reflectors on a jacket or helmet or to wear bright colors.
Where is the best place to ride a bike? Depending on where you live and how old you are, this can become confusing. States and cities may have different regulations. For instance, riding a bike on the sidewalk is acceptable for kids under fifteen in Dayton, Ohio, but only for kids under ten in Columbus, Ohio. Generally speaking, it’s probably okay for your child to ride a bike on the sidewalk if they are old enough that they cannot do so unsupervised. You should check your city’s local bylaws to see what is permitted for older children and teenagers.
If your town does not have bike lanes, older children and teenagers who ride on the street should learn to obey traffic laws. Discuss risks with your teen, such as stoplights, intersections, and being alert for parked cars that may suddenly open their doors into oncoming traffic. Make sure your teen knows the appropriate signals, such as extending one arm to indicate a left turn and one arm to indicate a right turn, if they intend to ride their bike alongside moving cars on the street.
Basic Road Rules for Cyclists
Hand Signals for Cyclists
Your child should be able to use the three primary hand signals. Turn left, turn right, and stop. You extend your left arm to the left when you turn left. There are two methods to signal with the right turn signal. You can reach out and bend your left arm so that your hand is pointing upward. Alternatively, you could reach out with your right arm. When you give a stop signal, you bend and extend your left arm to the left, pointing your hand in the direction of traffic.
Scooter Road Rules
Helmets are required for scooter riders just like for bike riders. Helmets are required for both of the two primary types of scooters: kick scooters that run on your feet and electric scooters that run on batteries. Think about getting knee, elbow, and wrist pads for your novice scooter rider. Since a child will naturally extend their hands to catch themselves if they fall, wrist fractures are a common injury. While falls are the most frequent way for scooter riders to get hurt, collisions with cars and pedestrians can also result in injuries.
Scooters can be extremely silent, so you need to have a bell or horn to alert oncoming traffic and pedestrians to your presence. Scooters that are meant to be used after dark are required to have a red light and reflector on the back so that people following you can see you, as well as a white light on the front for visibility.
Make sure your child has mastered riding their scooter before letting them ride it on the streets. Up until your child feels comfortable making turns, stopping abruptly, starting and stopping, and avoiding obstacles, have them practice in a secure learning environment like a driveway or vacant parking lot.
Young scooter riders need to be aware of the laws, which include staying to one side of the road unless they are passing, yielding to pedestrians from behind, and adjusting their speed to accommodate traffic flow. Remind your child to turn on their lights and to wear a reflective patch on their jacket or helmet if they are riding their scooter after dark so that they can be seen by oncoming cars.
Kick scooters are usually allowed on sidewalks, especially when used by kids. However, older kids and teens who use electric scooters will probably have different rules to abide by. When it comes to riding on sidewalks, the road, and in bike lanes, electric scooters are often governed by the same laws as bicycles. However, local state or municipal regulations may differ significantly from one location to another, so be sure to check them out. There might also be particular guidelines to abide by. For instance, in many places, users of electric scooters in bike lanes are required to wear helmets, be 16 years of age or older, and not exceed a set speed limit, like 15 mph.
Basic Road Rules for Scooter Riders
Teaching your kids about road rules is an investment in their safety and well-being. By instilling these fundamental principles early on, you empower them to become responsible and aware pedestrians. Implementing these road rules ensures that your children can navigate their surroundings confidently, promoting a culture of safety and responsibility on the streets.