One of the quickest ways to get to and from school in a city that has significant traffic congestion is to cycle there. This may take the form of bicycles, scooters, roller blades or any other human powered machine that has wheels. Granted, the city may not be conducive for our youngest students to cycle to and from school but cycling remains a viable choice for a number of our older students. There is a significant and vocal movement underway that is forcing decision makers to ensure that varies modes of active transportation remain viable in our local communities.
That means schools have bike racks for all our students who want to cycle; our sidewalks and bicycle lanes are clear of debris and hazards; and our students receive the proper training to ensure they are safe and secure when they participate in this type of travel. Active transportation partners are working towards these goals so that cycling can be a legitimate choice for our students.
What’s stopping you from letting your children cycle to and from school? Let us know, we will work with our community partners to address those concerns and make cycling a viable, safe, and healthy means for our students to get to and from school.
Cycling Safety Tips
- When cycling, always wear your helmet!
- If you are riding on the sidewalk; share with pedestrians and slow down.
- Obey traffic signals and follow the rules of the road.
- Expect the unexpected; car door openings and turning vehicles may not see you.
- Let those around you know you are there! Wear bright waterproof clothing and ensure your bicycle is in good operating condition.
Check out the following “Young Riders Guide” to help you get started with a cycling routine.
Whether you are in grade 3 or in grade 12, cycling can be a fast and enjoyable means to get and from school. The City of Toronto continues to make important infrastructure changes to ensure cycling is a viable means to get around the city. A bicycle, however, is the smallest vehicle on the road and precautions must be taken to ensure rider safety. First and foremost for all riders is:
Wear a helmet – one that fits and provides the proper protection
Your old hockey or snowmobile helmet is not a suitable replacement. Proper fit of the helmet is paramount to ensuring safety for a student in the event of a collision. It is the law for children and youth under 18 to wear a helmet when cycling in Ontario. To learn more about how to wear a properly fitted helmet first Toronto Public Health’s helmet safety web page.
By following some of these tips, however, we hope that your trip to and from school is uneventful.
- Young children should ride on the sidewalk (note: it is not the age but the size of the bike that is allowed to ride on the sidewalks – tire size must be under 61 centimeters or 24 inches)
- If bike paths are available please use them – they are designed for you the rider.
- Try to ride in groups for improved safety – but remember to ride single file
- Remember ‘right of weight’ – although as a cyclist you way have right of way in a particular circumstance other drivers may not see you or concede the right of way. Be vigilant – expect the unexpected.
- Be visible – wear clothes that can be seen by other drivers. Proper attire will also ensure students stay dry and avoid catching in chains or tires.