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Cycle safety

Cycling is a fun way to keep fit and active, and by the age of five your child might have already started riding a trike or a bike with stabilizers. Whether this is the case, or if you’re just thinking about getting going, we’ve put together a guide to cycling safely.

Cycling with your child

Before children are ready to try riding a bike themselves, you can take them out on a bike yourself using a baby cycle seat.

Look for a child bike seat that conforms to British Standard number BS EN 14344:2004.

There are seats available for children of different weights, so make sure your child is within the weight range of the seat you choose.

Before you cycle for the first time with the extra weight of a child on board, it’s a good idea to have a go in a safe place where there’s no traffic.

Make sure you are wearing cycle helmets and high-visibility clothing. Helmets must be worn at all times, even when cycling slowly and on soft ground, as they can prevent serious head injuries in the event of a fall or crash.

If your child can see you wearing a helmet when cycling, this will make it easier for them to get into the habit of wearing one too.

Getting a bike for your child

It’s usually easier for a child to learn to cycle on a bike with stabilizers, or by using a trike, before moving onto two wheels. Gardens or parks with soft ground can be safe places for your child to try and get to grips with cycling; just aim to keep away from any obstacles such as trees, fences or other people.

Wearing a helmet is a must when out on their bike. Helmets will prevent serious head injuries if your child falls off or crashes into something. Children are actually more likely to land on their heads if they fall off. Read more about what to do if your child suffers a head injury.

Children aren’t ready to cycle in traffic until the age of 11, even when supervised by an adult, so be sure to keep well away from public roads and supervise your young child when they are on their bike. Many schools will offer cycling proficiency training for children when they reach this age, which will help them to transition safely to cycling in traffic.

Useful links

Child Accident Prevention Trust – Cycle safety

Page last reviewed: 22-06-2022

Next review due: 22-06-2025