Is Your Child Cycle Smart?
Children learn by example
Younger children follow their parents’ example so ensure you always wear a
cycle helmet yourself and cycle safely. Teenagers often imitate their peers and
celebrity role models so point out to them that all the leading cyclists wear a
Go cycling with your children as often as you can so you can introduce them
to the joy of cycling as well as how to spot potential hazards and how to avoid
them by following the rules of the road.
Cycle training is essential. Bikeability courses are often available through
schools in term time or through councils during the holidays.
There are also Bikeability courses for adults. Check out the Bikeability website for more information.
Choosing a helmet for your child
It is important youngsters understand why they need to wear a helmet to protect
their brain and it is important to let them choose their own helmet as they
will be much more likely to wear it. Children find it hard to wear a helmet if
you do not or their friends do not so it is vital you wear one.
What to check when buying and fitting a helmet
The helmet conforms to British and European safety standards and has the
mark BSEN 1078.It fits firmly but comfortably on your child’s head. It should not obstruct their
vision or hearing.
The helmet fits level on the head. It should not be tilted forwards or
The straps are not slack when fastened.
Follow the fitting instructions that come with the helmet.
If you damage your helmet in any way you must replace it immediately
Helmets help protect cyclists from head injuries and can save lives. Read Joel’s story.
Choosing the right bike
Friends and family often buy a bike as a present. It is, however, important the child who the bike is for is with you so they can try it out for size. Do not buy a bike for a child to grow into as oversized bikes are dangerous.
A bike is the correct fit when the child is able to:
- Place the balls of both feet on the ground whilst sitting on the seat
- Reach the handlebars comfortably whilst seated on the bike
It is vital that all cyclists, particularly children because they are physically smaller than adults, can be seen by other road users.
- Always wear bright high visibility clothing in the day
- Always wear reflective clothing at night
- Always use a white front light and red back light at night and in poor visibility
Having the right cycling gear
- Always wear enclosed footwear with non-slip soles for example trainers.
- Do not wear clothing that could get caught in the chain.
- Ensure you have a bell fitted on your bike.
- Carry items in a rucksack on your back or bike panniers. Do not put bags on the handlebars as this will make the bike unsteady.
- Always wear a cycle helmet.
Cycling as a family
Cycling is a fantastic activity the whole family, from babies in bike seats and toddlers on tag-a-longs, to children on their own bikes can enjoy and it is healthy and environmentally friendly. Cycling together not only helps to build your child’s cycling skills but also brings families together. The need to get children off computers and games consoles and to take part in more physical activities is fundamental to improving their general fitness.