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Stay Aware: teach kids bike safety

Keep kids safe by teaching them bike safety

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- At least two area children in as many weeks have been injured in crashes involving cars while riding their bikes.

Two girls had run-ins with cars on their bikes. One girl hit a truck, the other was hit by a car.

In this recent crash in Richland, the child was not wearing a helmet but luckily only received cuts and scratches.

Both crashes show us what bike safety experts say are the biggest hazards for little ones pedaling along—kids who are unaware of their surroundings, and drivers who are distracted.

“It's really sad to hear of kids getting hit,” said Kendric Hale, bike mechanic.

Hale has been riding his whole life.

“The rear brake is just a little bit loose,” Hale said as he worked on a blue bike.

Having had many close calls himself, Hale knows how much more vulnerable kids are to bike accidents.

“Kids, obviously, they're young,” he said. “And they haven't gotten that experience yet.”

And we all know children can be unpredictable.

“Kids just do things,” said officer Bonnie Meyer of the Richland Police Department. “They just dart in front of traffic.”

Which is why experts say it’s so important to teach kids basic biking safety, like traffic laws and wearing a helmet.

“Ride bikes together, and you can teach them and show them the right way,” Meyer said.

The most important thing? Teaching kids to be aware of their surroundings—like moving and parked cars. And don't assume cars know where you are.

“Be obvious in what you're going to do,” Hale said. “If you're going to turn, be obvious about it. If you're going to stop, be obvious about it.”

Drivers should be extra cautious if they see a child biking.

“We should treat all kids as if they're our own kids and drive accordingly to keep them safe,” Meyers said.

Experts say the most dangerous places for kids are intersections--so if they are just learning--stick to bike paths.

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