Safety - riding a bike - Better Lives Healthy Futures

Safety – riding a bike

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If children are taught how to stay safe on the road, they can enjoy the freedom and independence of cycling as they increase their fitness and confidence.

Parents and carers should set a good example, following the Highway Code and teaching children road safety and awareness. Children are not ready to cycle on roads until they are around 11 years of age.

The further information section below has links to in-depth information on choosing a bike and helmet and for cycling routes and road safety training.

Top tips for cycling safety

Get the right size bike for your child – and ensure both their bike and yours are roadworthy – check brakes and tyres.

Wear a well fitting helmet – they are particularly recommended for younger children. Look for a British Standard Safety Kite mark when purchasing. A helmet which doesn’t fit properly does not offer good protection.

Wear bright clothes and put reflectors and lights on your child’s bike so they can be seen by others.

Daytime riding is safer. If riding at twilight or in the dark always use a working white front light and red backlight, plus a red rear reflector – it’s the law.

Cycle on the road not the pavement – unless it’s a designated cycle path

Adults cycle behind – or if there are two adults, have one at the back and one in front of the children.

Take care at all times – especially at junctions, bends or entrances.

When cycling on the road –  follow the rules – don’t jump red lights; signal clearly at all times; ride where you can see and be seen and make eye contact with other road users so you know they’ve seen you, especially at junctions.

When cycling on shared paths – keep left and be alert for walkers, wheelchair users, or horse riders; don’t go too fast and use your bell so others know you are approaching; don’t assume other path users can hear you – give way to others, slow down and stop if necessary.

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Further information

Essential cycling skills for families

Bikeability has a series of short films to help families cycle more confidently together as well as a Parent's Handbook for advice and information on where to find a cycling training course.

Cycling and road safety training

Bikeability is ‘cycling proficiency’ for the 21st century. There are three levels to teach your child control, road sense, and confidence - and give you peace of mind. The website has links to courses in your area or ask your child’s school or the local authority.

Kids Bike Size Chart & Frame Size

Advice, guidance and a useful downloadable chart to help you choose the right sized bike for your child.

How to choose and fit a child's bike helmet

Helpful advice on how to measure for and fit a helmet properly.

Where and how to cycle with kids

Advice on planning a family bike ride in your local area.

Cycle routes

Cycle route maps, descriptions and downloadable files that are all free to download and try.