In today’s world, is it ever a good idea to let your child ride his bike to school alone?  There are hidden hazards lurking everywhere, and it can be tough to know how to make the right decision regarding keeping your child safe while still letting him assert his independence. By taking a look at your child’s behavior, you can make an informed decision about if he’s ready to bike ride to school on his own or if he’s not quite mature enough to take on the task.

While there are both pros and cons to allowing your child to ride his bike to school alone, here are 10 reasons that it might not be a wise choice:

  1. He is irresponsible:  You know your child better than anyone else.  If he is easily and constantly distracted and can’t remember to look both ways before crossing the street, it might not be a good idea to let him ride his bike to school by himself.
  2. He is too young: As a parent, you will have to judge when your child is old enough to ride to school on his bike alone.  If you have a very responsible child, reside in a small town with sidewalks, and live close to the school, he might be able to ride his bike when he is in elementary school. However, if you live further away from the school, you might want to wait until he is older.
  3. There is too much traffic: If you live in a city where there’s a lot of traffic on the street, riding unsupervised may not be an option.  This is especially true if there are no bike lanes or sidewalks.  Make sure your child knows to watch for traffic no matter what, even if the area you live in is not particularly busy.  Accidents can happen anywhere.
  4. He is learning disabled: There are some things that can be too dangerous for a child who has a learning disability.  Kids with ADHD, for example, can often get distracted and ride right past their turn. This can then cause them to get lost and be unable to find their way home.
  5. It’s too dangerous: Maybe you live in an area that has a lot of crime and sending your child to school on his bike simply isn’t safe.
  6. He is being bullied: When your child rides his bike to school he needs to be able to ride to school safely and arrive on time.  The same goes for after school.  If your child is being bullied, you should address the issue before allowing him to be out on his bike alone.
  7. School is too far: If the school is more than a mile or so away, then it may be too far of a ride for your child.  Only you can decide how far is too far.
  8. The weather is unpredictable: If you live in New England, you know what they say: If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.  Do you live in an area where it rains a lot or where the weather is unpredictable? How about an area that gets a lot of snow and ice?  Those things don’t really lend themselves to biking for anyone, especially a child.
  9. He is too timid: To venture out on his own requires bravery.  It doesn’t sound like riding to school should be a huge hurdle to conquer, especially if you only live a few blocks from the school, but if your child is very timid, the thought of riding alone could frighten him.
  10. He has no sense of direction: The last thing you want to have happen is for your child to get lost while biking to school.  If your child can’t find his way to and from school alone, he isn’t ready to bike there on his own.

There are several different factors that contribute to if a child is ready or not to ride his bike to school by himself. Before making the decision to let him or not, you’ll have to evaluate your child’s unique attributes, the city or town you live in, and whether or not where you live is safe enough for your child to be out and about alone.

Our thanks to Maureen Denard, of findananny.net, for this very valuable information. Pat