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Highway Patrol teaches Bath students the rules of the road

While understanding the rules of the road is important for any motorist, it’s never too early to learn.

Bath Elementary third graders received a valuable lesson on bicycle safety on Wednesday morning, as troopers from the North Carolina Highway Patrol instructed them on proper safety equipment and how to use hand signals to indicate turning and stopping.

“It’s important at this age because this is when a lot of them remove training wheels and start riding with friends on the road,” BES teacher Natasha Roberson said. “Parents start to give a little more freedom, so it’s really important that they learn safety and how to maneuver through traffic.”

For NCHP Trooper Mike Burton, teaching these lessons at a young age is critical, even years before students start to think about a driver’s license.

“One important thing is stopping at stop signs,” Barton said. “They still have to obey all traffic laws. Just because they’re on a bicycle, we don’t want them to think that they’re exempt to road laws.”

The Highway Patrol has offered these same safety lessons for third graders at BES for a number of years, offering generations of students knowledge on how to stay safe on the road.

Under North Carolina state law, children are required to wear helmets on bicycles until age 16. Helmet use is recommended, but not required, for all ages.

“A lot of kids, and even parents, don’t realize that kids this age have to wear helmets,” Barton said.

In addition to allowing troopers a change of pace, it also allows the students to have positive interactions with police officers.

“Anytime we’re around kids, we try to portray that we’re their friends,” Barton said. “In the end, we want them to be our friends likewise, and this helps us out a lot.”

For more information on bicycle safety for kids and adults, visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety.