Keeping kids safe on bikes

Most children love to cycle, and it’s a great way for them to keep fit and healthy.

With a few safety tips, you can help them learn to cycle safely.

Cycling with babies, toddlers and very young children

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.

Seats are suitable 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.

You should also make sure both of you are wearing cycle helmets and high-visibility clothing.

Your child’s first bike

By the age of five, many children will have started riding a tricycle, bicycle, bike with stabilisers or a balance bike.

Kids’ bike helmets are a must every time they go cycling as they can prevent serious head injuries if your child falls off or crashes into something.

It will also help children get into the habit of wearing a helmet if they see the adults around them wearing bicycle helmets.

Local parks and gardens can be safe places to ride until children are old enough to cycle on the road.

Biking safety for children aged seven to 10

Children have better coordination and control and are usually more confident cyclists by the time they are around seven.

They’re still not ready to cycle in traffic, though, even if they’re with an adult.

Remind them to wear a bike helmet every time they go out on their bikes. Children are ‘top-heavy’ and more likely to land on their heads if they fall off their bikes.

Some children might need help doing up the straps and making sure the cycle helmet is secure.

Bikeability cycle training

Many children of 11 and over will want to cycle to school or go out on their bike with friends.

It’s okay for them to ride on the road, but they should be properly trained so they’re safe and can cope with traffic.

Most schools offer cycle training for kids which will build their confidence and help them stay safe on the roads:

  • Bikeability offers courses at different levels depending on a child’s age and cycling ability.
  • Cycling Scotland offers lots of road safety for cyclists courses to help families cycle confidently on the roads.

Once your child is out and about on the road, they should wear high-visibility clothing so it’s easy for drivers to see them - fluorescent for daytime and reflective for after dark.


More information

Find out about pedestrian safety and in-car safety.

Visit our road safety hub to download our road safety fact sheet and our activity sheets for children.

Explore road safety teaching resources for children from the Think! campaign run by the Department for Transport

More on safe cycling from the Cycle-Smart Foundation www.cycle-smart.org/