LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Heading back to school isn’t always easy, and staying safe on the way to and from school can prove difficult, especially for students who ride their bikes.
"It’s important that you stay off your phone, pay attention to all hazards and be on the lookout for children riding their bikes as well as adults," Bicycle Superstore manager Sarah Dean said. By law, cyclist and drivers have the same rights and responsibilities on the roadways.
For students in Calcasieu Parish, teaching your children bike safety is vital. Of the important things to remember: always wear a helmet.
“You would never put your child in a car without a child seat right?” Dean said. “If you’re 14 years of age or under you wanna make sure that you have a helmet on.”
It’s also important to remember a helmet is a one-time hit safety item.
“If you fall and your head hits,” Dean said. “That helmet is never going to protect your head the way it was intended to because it’s already been broken down a bit.”
Reflective lights help drivers spot your kids.
“If you have a really great set of lights, they are gonna be supper bright, they should have a daytime running flash mode,” Dean. “We have people that come in here and say man I saw you riding the other day and I saw your lights from at least a mile or two away.”
Other tips include a bell for alerting pedestrians, learning hand signals to alert drivers your child is turning and having a riding partner. Dean also stresses parents make sure children are familiar with their main route and have alternatives.
“Parents on the weekend, take them on that route get them familiar with that route,” Dean said. “They will know where the stop signs will be, they will know maybe what streets to get off the bike and maybe walk it across the street. They will know where maybe pot holes or drains is at, where dogs are as well.”
Schools within the parish monitor how many kids walk to school but have no way of knowing if your child chose to ride their bike.
So, another good tips is to have your children call or text you once they have made it to their destination and if they ran into any problems.
Additional tips can be found on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.