ASK THE EX­PERT

HOW DO I KEEP MY CHILD SAFE WHEN HE’S CY­CLING?

Uxbridge Gazette - - Family Health -

Q

MY 13-year-old son is al­ways out on his bike with his friends. What’s the best way to make sure he’s as safe as pos­si­ble on the roads?

A

DAVE Nichols, com­mu­nity en­gage­ment man­ager at the

road safety char­ity Brake (brake. org.uk), says: “Any par­ent will tell you that keep­ing their child safe around roads is a con­stant worry. With more and more traf­fic, fam­i­lies are of­ten torn be­tween en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren to be more ac­tive by cy­cling, and a fear of let­ting them near dan­ger­ous roads.

“Road crashes are the sec­ond big­gest cause of death for young­sters aged five-19, so it’s easy to un­der­stand why road safety is such a press­ing is­sue for many fam­i­lies.

“The good news is there are lots of things that can be done to im­prove road safety at a lo­cal level and Road Safety Week from Novem­ber 19-25 (road­safe­ty­week.org.uk) is an ideal op­por­tu­nity to bring peo­ple to­gether to work to­wards safer travel for ev­ery­one.

“This year’s theme of Bike Smart fo­cuses on the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing those on two wheels, who are some of the most vul­ner­a­ble road users. We have lots of free re­sources, in­clud­ing the two-minute an­i­ma­tion We Love to Cy­cle, which has ad­vice for both your son and adults on how they can be bike smart.

“You can see whether your son’s school of­fers bi­cy­cle train­ing. This is a great way for him to learn new skills and feel more con­fi­dent when us­ing roads.

“As a par­ent you can help make sure his bike is safe, by en­sur­ing it’s a suitable size, well-main­tained and has lights if he’s rid­ing in the dark. And talk to him about the ben­e­fits of wear­ing a hel­met and bright cloth­ing. You can also help plan safe routes for him, in­clud­ing cy­cle paths away from traf­fic.

“Don’t for­get the im­por­tance of set­ting a good ex­am­ple your­self. You can choose to cy­cle in­stead of drive. And when you do drive, go slowly where peo­ple live, al­ways look out for cy­clists and give them plenty of space when over­tak­ing. You can also cam­paign for bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture, such as cy­cle paths.”

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