As we know cycling is a fantastic way to keep your body and mind fit and healthy and burn off plenty of energy whilst out in the fresh air, in the garden or at a safe distance in the park. But it’s crucial to stay mindful of road safety even during this quiet lockdown period.  Cars may take advantage of empty roads to speed up.

And if you’re driving, remember there may be people stepping off pavements, younger cyclists avoiding walkers or simply people paying less attention because there’s less traffic on the roads.

When children are riding bikes, encouraging them to adopt good habits from an early age is key to their safety and well-being when they’re out and about.

Cycle helmets

Helmets are a must for everyone, including toddlers in child cycle seats. A helmet can prevent serious head injuries if your child falls off a bike. It's also a good idea for them to see adults setting a good example, so if you wear a helmet you can help them see how 'cool' helmets are! Please encourage children to wear helmets.

The Cycle Smart Foundation has more information on the protection helmets provide.

Carrying babies and toddlers on an adult bike

Seats for babies and toddlers should comply with the safety standard BS EN 14344: 2004. If you’re not used to carrying a child, you should remember that the additional weight can affect the way you cycle. It’s a good idea to practice on a private road or in a park first. Even though they’re strapped in, a helmet is essential. Lead by example by wearing one yourself.

Read more about Cycle Safety within our Safety Advice pages.

Out on the roads

In general, children aren’t ready for cycling on the roads until they’re about 11, and then only on quiet roads. While younger children can be amazingly confident and proficient, they won’t be able to handle cycling in traffic, even if they’re accompanied by an adult.

Older children should be adequately trained before they go out on a road. There are various training schemes around the UK:

Visibility

Being visible is critical to being safe as a cyclist. Children may be reluctant to wear them, but hi-visibility vests are essential for cycling on the roads: fluorescent for the daytime and reflective after dark.

Maintenance

Encourage children to get into the habit of looking after their bikes, if they’re well maintained, they will be safer.


More information

  • More information about cycle safety, and the right ages for children to get out on bikes, can be found on our safety pages - Cycle Safety. We also recommend you visit the following websites for more detailed information about cycle safety.

  • Coronavirus Q&A: is it safe to cycle? How does the coronavirus outbreak affect cycling, and how can you minimise your risk as an individual? https://www.cyclinguk.org/article/coronavirus-qa-it-safe-cycle

  • FREE DOWNLOAD: Colourful cycling - Riding a bike is great fun! Colour the mum and child going for a bike ride. What colour will you paint the helmet? For 3-5s.