bike safety tips kids

Cycling is one of those wonderful parts of life that’s equal parts fun, great exercise, and easy transport. Many of our best memories involve a bike whether it’s the joy of learning to ride a bike (a serious skill for life!) or riding around on holidays as a child. All over the world, cycling is extraordinarily popular for deliveries, adventure, and even school sport. In fact, many studies have assessed the overall benefits of cycling, with one study from the University of North Carolina finding that people who cycle for 30 minutes, five days a week take roughly 50% less sick days as couch potatoes. Wow!

Cycling for kids – a journey in itself

For children especially, getting their first bike also represents their first taste of independence with even the littlest kids setting out on a trike with excitement and enthusiasm. The additional benefits of coordination and a low-impact way to hang out with friends make bikes a common rite of passage throughout the world. Regardless of these positive gains of cycling, teaching kids to ride a bike is as much about the physical skill as the education of respectfully sharing paths, and learning about road safety. Not only do they learn to manage themselves while gaining their first ‘training wheels’ of independence, they’re also equipped with essential skills for how to read traffic and have positive social interactions.

Before we look at bicycle safety tips you should for children, keep in mind this key message from

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“Unfortunately, most people don’t realize hundreds of thousands of children are seriously injured each year in bicycle falls. Worse still, more than 600 children die from them each year. While you may have been lucky enough to survive childhood without a serious bicycle-related injury, you shouldn’t count on luck to protect your child.”

To start with exactly what to prioritize when teaching your child to ride a bike, make sure to cover these points below.

The non-negotiable of always wearing a helmet

It’s a basic recommendation but factually, did you know that the risk of serious head injury decreases by at least 45% if the bike rider is involved in an accident? There is never a situation where a helmet shouldn’t be worn and it’s equally important that the helmet is a proper one designed for cycling. While you might encounter resistance from your child, wearing a helmet could save their life and prevent serious injury. Ensure your child understands how to adjust their helmet for safety and comfort as well.

Riding on the right side, with traffic

There are so many different interpretations of how to ride on a road as a cyclist. The safest way for any person — including children who are over 10 and mature enough to understand traffic — is to ride with the flow of traffic. This actually makes a cyclist safer as it won’t distract drivers and many city councils throughout the world now have cycling lanes that follow the direction of traffic for an integrated approach.

The appropriate use of hand signals

One cycling myth is that children shouldn’t use hand signals because they could lose control of their bike. The reality is that if a child can’t competently shoulder check and hand signal, they’re not ready to ride on any road. This is for the safety of everyone on the road.

Understanding and respecting traffic signals

Building upon the last point, children should have a thorough understanding of how traffic works in order to be cycling anywhere near roads of any size or volume. Many schools will have cycling as part of their curriculum or kids can also complete a class in cycling to establish their skills. This can absolutely be of benefit to adults, too.

Never ride at night

The truth is that there are many safety risks for children when it comes to cycling at night. As the light drops, so does visibility for the cyclist and any cars on the road. Unless your child’s bike is equipped with necessary lights and reflectors plus they are wearing high visibility clothing, and they are an experienced, mature cyclist, they should never cycle at night. 

With this overview of safe cycling, you’re now ready to read on for a full infographic guide from Hussey Fraser Solicitors about ‘Teaching Bicycle Safety to Children’. Be careful and have fun!

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