This week, during a rare escape from my office, I saw something that surprised me.
A young lad was riding his bicycle on a local street, and actually used a hand signal correctly when preparing to make a left-hand turn. He even looked in all directions to check traffic. What’s more, he was wearing a helmet.
The fact I was surprised is perhaps because I don’t see a lot of kids signalling when riding their bicycles.
Just last week, I was driving in the same city and came across a group of kids who did not signal. As a matter of fact, they didn’t seem to be aware of any rules of the road.
Instead of proceeding in an orderly fashion, they were all weaving back and forth across the entire width of the street, riding in circles, and there was no way of telling which way any of them were going to go next.
I realize there’s less traffic on the streets in small towns than there is in large cities, but it only takes one car and one kid on a bike to produce tragic results.
The oblivious kids on their bikes didn’t surprise me, though. I have seen the same thing numerous times when parents were present and seemed to have less awareness of their surroundings than the kids for whom they should be setting an example.
If parents don’t teach their children proper behavior, it seems likely that the bad bike riders will someday grow up to be bad drivers (assuming they don’t get run down before they are old enough to get a driver’s license).
The young lad who used hand signals and checked traffic before turning impressed me. He and his parents are doing something right. They gave me a faint glimmer of hope that there are people out there who take traffic safety seriously and are doing what it takes to make sure their kids learn it, too.
Local law enforcement agencies and their sponsors do a good job hosting bike rodeos to promote safety each year, but they can’t do it all.
I suspect officers are motivated, at least in part, by the fact they are often the first to arrive at the scene when there is a crash, and they know better than most the consequences of bad decisions.
Safe riding begins at home. All parents set an example for their children. Unfortunately, sometimes the example they set is a bad one.