With the School Summer Holidays nearly over it will soon be time for children to return to their place of learning. Whether returning to an old school or joining a new school, academy or college, lots of children will be making a journey and many could be cycling.
The following information and advice looks at individual personal safety and on keeping bicycles safe. Here are a few things you can do now to improve your safety and make you more visible:
- Ensure a Hi-Viz outer garment or strip is worn at all times when cycling
- Wear a quality Helmet
- Fit reliable front and rear lights (particularly as the autumnal mornings and evenings will soon be drawing in)
Suffolk County Council’s Children’s & Young People’s department has lots of practical advice on walking and cycling to school. Here you can find out about:
- Cycling and walking to school
- Schools Road Safety Education
- Cyclist Training
- School Crossing Patrols
- School Travel Plans
The Suffolk Roadsafe website has also got lots of advice and information on being road safe.
Some points to think about:
- If you are taking your children to school in the car make sure that they are using the safest car seats available. Check out this information from ROSPA.
- Park a reasonable distance from the school and walk. Don’t put someone else’s safety at risk by poor school gate parking.
- As you walk, discuss your journey with your child. Start to allow them a little bit of independence as they start to show traffic awareness.
- If they are walking on their own, consider encouraging them to wear brighter clothing, particularly as the days grow shorter.
- Cycling is an excellent way to get to school. Accompany younger children yourself and get older children to attend a “Bikeability” course.
- Make sure your child’s bike is regularly maintained and that they know how to check their own bike for safety. Here is a quick ABC check, demonstrated on YouTube, that your child can learn to do before each bike ride.
- If your children are starting High School, discuss (and preferably walk/cycle) the route before the first day of “Big school”.
- If they are travelling by bus for the first time, make sure that they know how to behave. Poor bus behaviour can affect the driver’s concentration. Make sure that they know what to do in an emergency (lost bus-pass, missed the bus etc.).
Suffolk Constabulary are also keen for cyclists to ride safely, keeping both themselves and pedestrians safe. Their information is also about helping avoid becoming a victim of cycle theft.
The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) is the UK’s leading charity working to reduce the number of children and young people killed, disabled or seriously injured in accidents. Their website includes a section on ’keeping your child safe on a bike’.
Many children are also driven to school, so it is equally important to keep your child safe in the car. Twelve children under 10 are killed or injured as passengers in cars every day. To help prevent further death and serious injury, ensure that each child car seat has been fitted correctly and car seat belts used by children are adjusted correctly. CAPT also has guidance on ‘keeping your child safe in the car‘.
Protect your Bike
Remember your bike is also vulnerable even at home:
- Always lock your bike with a quality lock
- Register your bike for free on immobilise
- Protect bike through bike register