With so many families heading out for bike rides to burn energy during the lockdown, Christchurch City Council is offering some tips to make sure everyone stays safe on the road.
Council monitoring of major cycle routes around the city has picked up a sharp rise in the number of people biking in many suburban locations since 30 March, just after the current alert level four restrictions began.
Stephen Wright, Council Transport Operations Manager, says it’s impressive seeing the growing number of people taking advantage of quieter streets and cycling around their local neighbourhoods with their kids.
But it’s important they follow the road rules even though there are fewer cars around. “It’s really positive that people are taking the opportunity to go out riding with their children. We just want to give a gentle reminder to stick to local roads and obey all the road rules as normal,” he says.
"Also, remember we're in a lockdown - stay with members of your 'bubble' and keep rides fairly short.
“Use cycleways if you have them around your place, and we recommend riding in single file with an adult at the front and younger kids behind. If possible, try to have another adult or an older child at the back of the group.”
Mr Wright says parents should role model checking behind, signalling and stopping at intersections to teach their children how to become safe road users. They should also let their child know that it’s always ok to get off and walk on the footpath if they’re not sure about the road ahead because traffic is busy or there are roadworks.
“This is an opportunity to really pass on those safety messages and help their kids get some supervised practice on the roads.”
Another tip from the Council’s Cycle Safe team, which usually delivers programmes in schools, is to check your gear, including bikes and helmets, is sound and ready to go before you leave home:
• Make sure everyone’s shoe laces are tied and avoid having hoodies or jerseys tied around your waist where they could get tangled in bike wheels.
• Are helmets fitted properly? Ask your child to put two fingers above their eyebrow. The helmet should just touch the top of the second finger, with the straps forming a V shape around their ears. Tighten the chin strap to make sure you can only fit two fingers between a child’s chin and the strap.
• Always check your bike is in good shape before you head out on the road using the A,B, C method. Check the Air in your tyres and test your Brakes. Also take a minute to check your Bolts that keep the wheels secured to the frame. Have a quick look at your Chain, checking that it’s in place and well-oiled.
For more general tips and ideas for biking with kids, check the New Zealand Transport Agency's advice.