A bike rodeo sounds like a lot more fun than attending a bike safety course!
Many people learn to ride their bike as a kid; however, this does not necessarily translate into the skills needed to drive your bike. Teaching kids is very different from adults because they do not have the perspective of being behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle. They also have issues with understanding abstract concepts which makes it important to try to incorporate on-street practice whenever possible. The design of a Kids I skills course is to give the child enough skills and to learn simple mnemonics so that they can remember to make correct choices when riding. The material I reference is from the recommendation of LAB in their Kids I curriculum.
Helmet fittings – In trying to deal with rapidly growing kids’ heads, many helmets end up as hand-me-downs. The foam should be inspected for cracks and other signs of wear that indicate it is lacking in structural integrity. The hard shell should be intact. Always replace after a crash. NHTSA has a good visual aide.
- Mnemonic: Eyes, ears and mouth. The helmet should be level on the child’s head and unable to be rotated. 1-2 fingers from the eyebrows, 2 fingers to form a ‘V’ under the ears with the side straps and 1-2 fingers to fit under the chin strap (or have the kids open their mouth to check for snugness).
ABC Quick Check – Allows kids and adults to quickly check over their bike before riding. A is for air (tire pressure), B is for brakes, C is for crank, chain and cassette and quick for quick release.
Skills course– Can vary depending on what space constraints are. A few examples are:
- Starting the pedals in the power position and stopping
- Avoiding hazards
- Looking over their shoulder to scan and continue riding straight
- Intersections (older youth)
Interaction is key! Kids benefit with frequent involvement and input. The next event will be held this Saturday in Falcon Heights. Additional events (Hopkins, Maple Grove, Albert Lea) can be found on the BikeMN calendar.