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Cactus Hobbit
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I searched but was unable so see anything that addressed my questions. Next year I plan on letting my two children, 9 and 10 ride to school. It is about a 1 1/4 miles to the school. There are several side streets but only one larger road. The larger road, 5 lanes, will require them to cross at an intersection with a stop light and a crossing guard, not really worried about this intersection. The road opens up about half a mile from our house to a street that has designated bike lanes on either side.

My question is how or what can I add to them and the bikes to make them safer? My plan is to equip the bikes with front and rear lights, flashing for the rear. I would also like to have them wear a reflective vest, helmet is a must. I see about 15 to 20 kids riding to school daily, most without any safety equipment, no helmet, no reflective gear on themselves or bike, and they usually are wearing dark clothing, they are very hard to see in the lower light conditions when the time changes. My kids have both attended a program with the police dept., Safety City, and seem to have done well and remembered what they were tought. I plan on riding with them a few weeks getting them ready before school and a few weeks after school making sure they are safe as can be. Any suggestions or opinions on safety gear for this long winded post would be appreciated.
 

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Just Plain Bitter!
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72 Posts
Sounds like you have everything pretty well lined up. I will point out that you will need to stock up on batteries for those lights! When my kids started riding to school it was the most common for them to just leave the blinkies on and forget about them. I would need to replace batteries every few days. Probably best to buy rechargeable ones to save some money. It is required where I live that if you are under 18 you must wear a helmet. There is a motorcycle officer that sits on my street and writes tickets once a week to the kids who decided to wear their helmet on their handlebars instead of their heads! I have talked to him on occasion and he is a cyclist with kids.
 

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Cactus Hobbit
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the words of encouragement, Duende54 and Dean, I hadn't thought about the battery issue, but that is a good point. I am going to try and make maintenance a weekly event, with the kids learning how to clean, lube, and wrench on their own bikes.
 

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1,095 Posts
It does sound like you've thought of about everything. I wanted to mention that there's a great, economical commuter light set at Performance Bike that I just bought for both of my kids: Ascent Commuter Light Set


One other cheap product that I have come to really like when it's dark is the Nite Ize Spokelit Bicycle Light. I put it on my front wheel flashing so that cars don't cut corners too carelessly at intersections and clip me -- it really helps side visibility.

Best,
Rob
 

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1,223 Posts
I am glad you are using something that is rare these days. Something far more important than an internet search. You are using common sense. Riding with them for the first few days to see that they really do know what they are doing, then having enough trust in them to expect them to do it. That's and important part of growing up. Learning on a bike saves a bundle on cars. They are not just getting to school. They are learning responsibility. Teaching them to work on their bikes is an important part of the process too.

Getting a little freedom at that age is important. You can't make a big decision till you make small ones and riding the bike will let him make these types of decisions without you looking over their shoulders. If you can though, every now and then I happen to be riding along the route and meet them mid route or where ever, just to be sure they know you are watching. I got a great deal of freedom, but my mom and dad knew everyone within bike range and they all knew me. IF I got into anything I shouldn't someone would know and knew who to call. I KNEW getting away with anything wasn't likely and didn't push it. Its rarely that way anymore, so if I were in you situation from time to time Id just happen to be riding and finish the ride with them. Be fun to ride with them once in a while anyway.
 

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Cactus Hobbit
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the suggestions and options BeginnerCycling and photosbymark. I was a motorcycle officer for 5 years before I inherited my ranches and had to take them over full time, so the popping up along the route sounds like and fun idea.
 
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