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Lesson Introduction & Overview
Riding a bike is a great way to stay fit, get around your neighborhood or town, have fun with family and friends, and enjoy the great outdoors. While bike riding can be so good for our health, there is also a risk of crashing or falling. Many times we are sharing trails with other bikers or walkers, sharing roads with cars, or riding on rough terrain. It’s important when we’re riding to do everything we can to stay safe. This lesson focuses on four ways to do that.
Activity: Four Keys to Staying Safe on Your Bike
Introduce the idea that your bike is a vehicle. There are basic things that anyone has to learn before driving a vehicle. While we don’t need a license to ride a bike, there are still things we need to do to stay safe.
Be predictable! Two ways you can be predictable are by always riding on the rights side of the bike path or road and in a straight line.
Use signals to alert cars, other cyclists and walkers of what you are about to do. Explain to youth that you are going to play a game of ‘Simon Says’ using the hand signals that cyclists use. Teach them the signals first and then play the game. (Since they will be moving side-to-side as well as forward and back, it’s important to make sure you have a big enough space for this activity.) Here are the signals.
Be Aware: Being aware means paying attention to your surroundings as well as yourself and your equipment.
To stay aware of your surroundings, make sure you can see and hear well – no headphones! Every time you get to an intersection, stop and search. This means looking left, then right, then left again before proceeding.
It’s also important to be aware of the ‘ABCs’ of taking care of your bike. You’ll see a little bit more later in a video about how to check your bike, but you can remember that A means making sure there is enough air in the tires, B means having breaks that you know work, and C means that your chain is in good working condition and in the right place.
Be Visible: Just because you can see a vehicle doesn’t mean they can see you. When cycling wear bright clothing, have reflectors on your bike and ride during day light.
Distribute the “Be Visible” coloring activity sheet to each child. Directions: Color the cyclist on this coloring sheet as brightly as you can.
Save your Brain
Tell young people that protecting their brains is one of the most important parts of cycling/bike safety. Let them know that this video (4 minutes) will explain why it’s important and ways they can do it. Always Wear Your Helmet:
Reflection: Ask each young person to say one thing they learned about bike safety today.