DECATUR, Ala. - As summer settles in and school lets out, children will be heading outdoors. If your child is planning to take their bike on a ride, the Decatur Police Department wants to make sure they do so safely.
"We really want to drive home that we really want kids to practice safe habits during the summer, especially when they are on their bikes," said Emme Long with the Decatur Police Department.
Being safe will pay off. Through Project Sweet Treat, Decatur patrol officers will hand out coupons for free ice cream when they spot children practicing bicycle safety this summer.
"If patrol officers see a kid wearing their helmet, doing what they are supposed to, they will get a free ice cream cone," Long said.
Decatur Police offered the following bike safety tips.
- Always wear a helmet. Regardless of trip length, your helmet is a must-have for any excursion. If you have children, make sure that their helmets fit properly. Videos showing proper helmet fit are a great reference.
- Obey the rules of the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reiterates that bikes must follow the same street signs, traffic signals, and road markings as vehicles do. Bikes should travel in the same direction as traffic.
- Stay visible. Wear bright, easily-seen clothing. Install a light on your bike for drivers to see. The National Safety Council advises that bikers avoid riding at night.
- Minimize distractions. Just like drivers, those on bicycles should never text or listen to headphones while traveling.
Long said parents can also help keep kids safe.
"If you have younger children, always be out with them, even if they are older too. It's great to supervise them, but if you are riding alone and you are an older kid, we always advise you just look, be very vigilant. It is your responsibility for your safety too because sometimes drivers don't look, unfortunately.
Police advise drivers to drive slowly in residential areas, to give bicyclists plenty of space and to stay alert.