Why Shouldn’t You Let Your Child Ride Bike in Low Light?
Children who have learned to ride a bike are naturally excited to go places. As a parent, you would likely let him practice and improve his skill. But don’t let your child ride a bike in a low light if you don’t want him to get hurt.
Why Kids Should Not Bike in Dark
The answer is simple— low light conditions can pose a lot of problems for your child, especially if he just started biking.
One potential risk of riding in a low light area is that he may not be able to see potholes and other road hazards. Little dips and bumps of urban asphalt are hard to see at night, even when there’s a nearby streetlight.
If your child become adventurous and goes to routes he’s not familiar with, then there’s the danger he could get into trouble.
Riding in an area where few people go to can still be dangerous when it’s dark. Wet leaves can cause him and his bike to slide. Worse, he may encounter uncovered man holes!
Another problem with riding in a low light area is that motorists find it difficult to spot bikers. This is particularly true when motorists drive a tinted car. It is not uncommon for bikers to collide with cars at night.
In the United States, about 33,000 people die in car crashes every year. About 1 in 41 of the fatalities is a cyclist.
Finally, you don’t want your child to be biking in a low light area because there’s the risk that he can be victimized by a burglar. Your child may be physically hurt, or his bike stolen if he rides in a dark alley.
Thus, it is important that you advise him of the dangers of riding at night. Ask him to stop riding late in the afternoon. Or you may want to impose a curfew—he and his bike should be at home by 6.
You may also encourage him to ride his bike early in the morning instead in the afternoons. This way, it will be less likely for him to bike at night.
General Road Safety
However, there will really be times when your child will find himself biking in low light. For example, he’ll ride his bike to a classmate’s house in the afternoon to work on some assignments. But because of the workload, he finds himself having to ride by night time.
Most bikes have reflectors placed up front, at the back, and on both wheels. But you should still check if the reflectors on your child’s bike are big enough to be seen. The reflectors should also not be obscured by clothing when riding.
Moreover, you should check that the reflectors are not cracked. The reflectors must not be covered with mud, too, so these can reflect headlight. You can also add rear safety lights at the back of his bike. This type of safety light may also be mounted on the seat post.
Side safety lights, meanwhile, are mounted on the spokes or frames. These lights would make your child all the more visible when riding, because these clearly show the wheels of the bike in motion.
You may also get him a high visibility vest or bag. When wearing one, he will definitely be spotted by motorists and pedestrians no matter how dark it is.
It will also benefit your child if he knows basic bike maintenance. Teach your child how to keep his bike in good condition. He should also check his brakes regularly. Encourage him to keep his bike clean, particularly the tires.
This is very important during winter and autumn, where the road surfaces are muddy and slippery.
You should also teach him how to check his bike pedals. These should have decent grip to prevent accidents due to his feet sliding if the ground is wet or muddy.
While your child may be disinterested in these things, tell him why it is important for him to learn basic bike maintenance.
You can say that roadside repairs at night can be very difficult and dangerous. Thus you’d rather have him checking on his bike at home, before he goes out to ride.
There’s no reason why your child should be riding in a low lighting area, especially if he had just learned how to ride a bike. Encourage him to practice in the morning, or early in the afternoon.
You must also teach your child the basics of bike safety. He should wear a helmet all the time. His bike, meanwhile, should have reflectors both up front and at the back.
However, as he grows up and becomes a better biker, you should teach him the basics of bike maintenance. He should be responsible enough to take care of his bike. A well-maintained bike is less likely to slip or get into accidents, even when it is dark.
Riding a bike at night is very risky, but there will be times when this can’t be avoided. You should be able to prepare your child for those times, by teaching him basic safety procedures like wearing a helmet and using high visibility clothes. By doing so, you’ll have peace of mind even if your child is outdoors and riding his bike at night.