Cycling needs to be encouraged – it’s green, healthy and fun and it helps children to become independent. However, in 2010, 168 cyclists aged 0-11 were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads, so it’s vital that 7-11 year olds learn how to stay safe on a bike.
Helping your child stay safe
- Ask your school or Local Authority about cycle training in your area. Your child shouldn’t cycle on roads until they have been trained.
- Check your child’s bike to see if it’s roadworthy: look at brakes, tyres and lights/reflectors (when riding at dusk or at night you must have white front lights and red back lights and reflector)
- Make sure the bike is the right size for your child
- When out driving, teach your child about roundabouts, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings
- Find out where local cycle paths and lanes are
- Make sure your child wears a helmet which fits and is worn correctly, it should not be pushed too far back on the head
- Ensure your child wears some high-visibility clothing when cycling
- When out and about with your child look at cyclists and talk about how easy they are to see
Remember that if you cycle yourself you should set a good example!
The basics of cycling safety
These are all covered in detail in the Tales of the Road booklet which your child should have a copy of.
- Look behind before you turn, overtake or stop
- Use arm signals before you turn right or left
- Obey traffic lights and road signs
- Do not ride on the pavement unless there is a sign saying that you can
- On busy or narrow roads do not cycle next to another person
- When overtaking parked cars, watch out for car doors opening suddenly
- Do not listen to a personal stereo while cycling
These are just some of the rules children who ride on roads should know. Young cyclists need to learn what road signs mean, how to deal with roundabouts and understand when to give way. If you have time, read through the Tales of the Road booklet with your child.
Find out if cycle training is available at your child’s school – this is the best way to learn the skills and knowledge needed to stay safe on the road. You can learn more about cycle training in your area at www.bikeability.org.uk - new window or contact your local Road Safety Officer through the Local Authority.