Bicycling can be a great activity for children—if they know the basic safety routines. The following guidelines can make it easier for you to get your child into the bike safety habit.
- Remind children to stop and look for traffic at all intersections, including those where streets cross alleys and driveways.
- Don’t let them ride a borrowed bike.
- Make sure they are riding a bike that fits them and that it is in good working order.
- Make sure schools provide cyclists with “safe areas.”
- Look to see where kids can lock their bikes and if it’s near the pick-up, drop-off area (which could have a lot of traffic).
- Dress your child appropriately for dawn, dusk or bad weather biking.
- Children should avoid biking in the dark. If they must bike at night, make sure their clothing and helmet have reflective strips and that the lights and reflectors on the bike are in place.
- ALWAYS make sure they wear shoes when riding a bicycle!
- Helmets and kids—it’s the safety connection that really matters for kid-riders.
- Let your child help pick out the helmet. (Read these tips for choosing one!)
- Always insist your child wear the helmet.
- Begin the helmet habit with the first bicycle.
- When you ride with your children, wear your own helmet.
- Encourage the parents of your children’s friends to buy helmets.
- Start with sidewalks and bike paths until you feel confident your child can handle a road with vehicle traffic.
- Plan a safe cycling route with your children.
- Ride it at different times of the day—the amount of traffic can vary significantly.
- Discourage children from riding alone.
- Kids should always try to ride with a buddy (but not on the same bike) and know what to do in case of an accident or if they are followed or approached by a stranger on foot or in a car.
- Warn children of the dangers of using a bike to try stunts and tricks.
- ”Showing off” can lead to injuries for the cyclists and his friends.
- Set a good example.
- Not only is riding with your children good exercise for both of you, it’s a way to show them that rules matter.
For More Information
Kidshealth.org: Bike Safety
Information on bike safety. KidsHealth is part of The Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media.
Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI)
The helmet advocacy program of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, BHSI is a nonprofit consumer-funded program providing bicycle helmet information and other biking safety tips.
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