The Innovation Health team recently had the opportunity to give back to our Fairfax community with a donation to the Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools for its Safe Routes to School initiative, a program that teaches local students to safely ride bikes. LINK TO RELEASE.

In coordination with local schools and communities, Safe Routes to School hopes to create safer ways for kids to commute to school. Along with decreasing traffic congestion, walking or riding a bike to school will decrease air pollution, which has been said to be associated with several health conditions in kids, including asthma, respiratory illnesses, and cancer. Biking to school can also help decrease childhood obesity rates and can make a significant contribution to the recommended physical activity each day.

Safe Routes to School strives to educate parents and students on bike riding safety, as more students participate in the program, the number of accidents decline. The Safe Routes to School program has contributed to a decrease in the amount of accidents by 50%.

To help educate students our team took part in a traffic simulation course at Cameron Elementary in Fairfax where students got to practice their safe biking skills. Below are some of the tips Safe Routes to School shared with students and that are great tips for our entire community.

Before riding, it is important to ensure your child’s equipment is checked. This includes making sure the bike’s tires are inflated, their helmet fits properly, and that the bike is adjusted to accommodate your child.

  • Make sure to go over the rules of the road and teach your child what it means to “See and Be Seen.” This includes paying attention to physical obstacles, along with drivers and other bikers.
  • Your child should communicate with others by expressing if they plan to change lanes or turn. Making eye contact with drivers before entering an intersection can help prevent accidents. It is often advised to drive against the flow of traffic, however this is more dangerous. Riding with the flow of traffic ensures that drivers can see you.
  • Lastly, it is important to secure any items that your child plans to carry on their bike ride. Attempting to hold items in your hand while riding a bike can make it more difficult and dangerous while riding. Placing loose and important items in a bag will make the ride safer.

As the weather gets warmer and you and your family head outdoors for bike rides visit: https://www.safekids.org/tip/bike-safety-tips to read up on more bike safety tips.