KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Hundreds of cyclists will be zipping around the streets of Knoxville next weekend, with the USA Cycling National Championship in town. Before any of the riders became pros, they had to start their journey of bike riding at a young age.
At Safety City in Knoxville, children are proving it’s never too early to learn safety on a bike. The education program provides hands-on lessons within a child-size setting. It’s complete with buildings, paved streets and sidewalks, working traffic signals and traffic signs.
Courtney Kirby is visiting from Colorado and brought her two young children.
More coverage: USA Cycling National Championships
“It’s huge to us because I think that it’s something that they will do for the rest of their lives. Right now they’re 3 and 5; this is actually when we have a voice in what they do,” said Kirby, from Crested Butte, Colorado.
Vicki Dagnan, the coordinator at Safety City adds, “The earlier you can form good habits, the better you’re going to be.”
Just like the pros, children have to learn the basics and the rules of the road, like how to stop when necessary.”
“Hopefully just an overall awareness that you have to look out for what’s coming at you. You have to look out for who’s around you,” said Kirby.
Dagnan said, “Not only do you want to be alert, you want these people who are out in other vehicles to be able to see you as well.”
Children are modeling after riders who wear bright clothing with reflectors. They also learn the importance of always wearing a helmet when riding a bike.
“Even when you get older, it’s really a good idea to wear that helmet to protect your brain,” said Dagnan.
From June 5 to July 27, Safety City will be open to the public on Mondays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.