Bicycling is an enjoyable activity for riders of all ages. It improves balance, coordination, well-being and mental health. It’s a fun way to get around.
Make sure your child’s bike is the right size. If it’s too big or too small, they won’t be able to control it easily. Children should be able to straddle the bike comfortably with both feet on the ground. Equip your child’s bike with a bell and reflectors. It’s also important to keep your child’s bike well-maintained. Once a week, check tires, spokes, brakes, seat, handlebars and chain. If anything is broken, fix it.
Always wear a helmet. It should fit snugly on top of the head with little movement in any direction. The front of the helmet should be 2 finger widths above the eyebrows. Only one finger should fit between your chin and the chin strap. Helmets should be replaced every 3 – 5 years.
Before hitting the road, have your child practice their biking skills in an empty parking lot or open area with no cars. Try:
- Riding fast and then stopping
- Riding around and between obstacles
- Shoulder checking, then looking ahead
- Using arm signals for turning, slowing and stopping
- Riding in a “figure eight” pattern to learn balance
Once your child is ready for the road, set the following hard and fast rules:
- No playing on the road.
- No riding on busy streets.
- No riding at night.
- Stop for all stop signs.
- Ride on the right with traffic.
Enjoy the ride!
~ adapted from the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute’s “Safe Cycling With Sam”