THE CASE AGAINST ALLOWING CHILDREN UNDER AGE 12 TO RIDE A BIKE SOLO
At the age of ten while riding home from school in Columbus Ohio; a stranger attempted to lure me into his car. I attempted to ignore him, however rather than leaving his behavior became more aggressive. I remembered that one of my classmates lived near, so I began to ride with a mission. When I reached Pam’s home, I threw the bike down and began screaming. I ran to their front door and began banging fervently; Pam’s dad answered and the stranger in the white car sped away. I was one of the lucky ones.
There are those who will argue that if we want our children to grow up to be brave we must allow them independence and that statistics regarding child abductions by strangers is relatively low. There is truth in this; however we cannot associate bravery with indiscretion or independence with gratuitous risk taking. We do want to permit our children the growth needed to stand on their own legs; yet it is our responsibility to teach them to make wise choices to avoid harm’s way. Although the percentage of abductions by children by strangers is low, if it were your child the actual percentage would become 100%; perception changes when the actual misfortune materializes close to home.
The real question is what age is appropriate to allow my child the freedom to go places alone? Naturally this would depend on the child, for children mature at different ages. Additionally readiness would depend on the family and other circumstances. Being a Christian the number one tool used to assist a child in developing good judgment in order to achieve independence would be teaching the child the ways of the Lord; a Biblical Worldview provides a solid foundation (Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4). It is my belief that true spirituality, not religiosity, can transcend a person into the love and light of Jesus Christ; in the arms of Christ we would feel safe and being filled with His knowledge we would make the wise choices (Psalm 106: 1-3, 1 John 4:15, Colossians1:27,3:17).
If I were to make a list of what I refer to as recipe’s for preparing a child to walk or bicycle alone it would consist of the following;
1. Be certain that the information you provide is age appropriate. For instance, you would not teach a child of five how to prepare for going off to college.
2. When children start riding a bike teach them safety precautions; wearing a helmet, riding on the correct side of the road, riding defensively, know the rules of the road, etcetera.
3. Be aware of their surroundings; if they notice someone following them, start screaming loudly, and if a house or a business is near go the house or business to get help.
4. Never allow themselves to be tricked. Many pedophiles attempt to play the child’s heart strings by asking them to help find a lost pet or that a relative asked them to pick them up.
5. Create a password that only immediate family knows; it needs to be one that has no possibility...