After two months of virtual emptiness in July and August, bike racks around Prince George schools are full again as kids take advantage of the last few weeks of summer-like weather.
Not only is bike riding a healthy way to get to school, but with the mornings being a little bit chilly, all that cool air and exercise is a guaranteed wake-up call for kids before they start class.
Riding to school safely on those two-wheelers takes as much common sense as it does road sense and the Canadian Automobile Association has a few tips for parents to pass on to their kids, including:
n Always ride on the right side of the road in single file;
n When crossing a road at a crosswalk, always get off your bike and walk it across;
n Ride with your head up, be alert, be aware of moving cars, doors of parked cars being opened into your lane, pedestrians and road surface hazards;
n Don't dart in and out from between parked cars into the traffic lane;
n Wear bright clothing that will increase visibility with motorists;
n Don't ride with earphones;
n Know hand signals and use them when turning or stopping;
n Watch for and obey all road signs and traffic signals.
Students should make sure their bikes and all components (especially brakes) are in good working order and be sure to test them out at home before you hit the road.
Make sure your bike is a proper fit. With both feet on the ground, a road bike frame should allow an inch or two of clearance between the top tube of the frame and your crotch. A mountain bike should offer slightly more clearance. To find the right seat height, with your heels on the pedals, you should be able to almost straighten your legs as you reach the bottom of each pedal revolution. If your hips rock back and forth, the seat is adjusted too high.
Helmets should be approved by the Canadian Standards Association. Those brain buckets have limited lifespans, so be sure to check the sticker on the back for an expiry date.
Regularly check tires to make sure they are properly inflated to reduce the risk of punctures. Install a bell or horn to warn other people when you are approaching them.
Don't forget to lock your bike when you attend school to reduce the risk of theft.
For more bike safety tips, go to www.bikesafety.caa.ca.