Kids get safe biking tips for summer

The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, along with the District of Maple Ridge put on the Family Bike Festival, which drew about 60 kids.

Students at Albion elementary learn how to adjust their bike helmets at Bike Fest.

Students at Albion elementary learn how to adjust their bike helmets at Bike Fest.

Just like in the old days, they rode their bikes to Albion elementary on Friday.

Some, of course, had their parents pack their bikes into the cars and SUVs and bring them to school, but the main thing is they got there and learned how to ride safely on urban streets.

The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, along with the District of Maple Ridge put on the Family Bike Festival, which drew about 60 kids.

After decorating their bikes, they got some instruction on how to ride in a straight line, signal and do emergency braking, then went on a short ride.

“We really want to encourage more active transportation,” said Stephanie Gray, with the cycling coalition.

She agreed, two of the main fears parents have is their child being hit by a car or accosted by a sexual predator.

Having a safe bike route and having kids ride in groups are two ways of easing those concerns. That’s also made easier in Maple Ridge because bylaws allow cycling on sidewalks, providing pedestrians are given the right of way.

“We’re trying to get parents to stop driving their kids to school – so we’re trying to provide students with the skills and knowledge to do that safely.”

Gray said for the most part, kids don’t ride their bikes to school, which means traffic jams at school opening and closing times.

“It’s really not happening any more. It’s become so normal for kids to be driven everywhere. We want to make that change.”

People now tend to be more isolated, so it’s more difficult for kids to cycle in groups, she added. Parents don’t want their kids to walk or ride alone.

Gray said Albion elementary usually only has only one or two students take their bikes to school, but she hopes that will change following the bike fest.