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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Tips for safely riding a bike to school

STILLWATER, Okla. – While lots of Oklahoma students will travel to school by bus, some will arrive via a slightly different, but no less effective, mode of transportation: the bicycle.

Following a few common sense tips will help ensure children remain as safe as possible during their pedal-powered commute.

“Biking is an easy, reliable way to get to school and, as a bonus, it helps the environment and riders get some great exercise along the way,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University housing and consumer specialist.

While on a bicycle, riders should wear a properly fitted bike helmet for protection from injury as well as brightly colored clothing to make them more visible to motorists.

“Students should follow all rules of the road while biking to school, especially since in many states, bicycles are considered vehicles. If a child does not know the rules of the road, then the child should not ride in traffic or without an adult. Parents and caregivers also should check local and state laws allowing bicyclists to use the sidewalk,” Peek said.

Riders should go with the flow of the traffic, staying to the right and riding in a straight line, rather than weaving around cars.

When approaching driveways, streets and intersections, stop to check for oncoming traffic. Before making a turn, look for a break in the flow of vehicles and signal before moving.

Bike riders also should pay close attention to parked cars, as well as to cars doors that may open suddenly or cars that may be pulling away from the curb.

“Bike riders should use their eyes and ears while in traffic,” Peek said. “Riders should watch for hazards in the road such as potholes, storm grates, pools of water and other elements that could cause them to lose control of their bikes. They also should listen to the traffic around them.”

Finally, practice makes perfect. Parking lots or other low-traffic areas are good places to practice riding to increase bike-handling skills.

“Riding in a straight line, stopping and signaling are all important skills for bike riders,” Peek said. “Families should set aside time before school starts to practice the route several times so students know where they are going.”

For more information on bicycle safety, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at and contact your county Extension office.



Leilana McKindra
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
158 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078