Riding a bike is fun, it’s great exercise, and it can give your child their first taste of independence.
However, it’s important to remember that a bike is not just a toy. It’s a vehicle that can be placed in some very unsafe conditions if you are not careful while riding.
It is important to instruct your child on bicycle safety from a young age so that they can carry these habits and love of bicycling and exercise into adulthood for years to come.
Let’s get started with pre-ride maintenance.
- Ensure that your child is wearing a properly-sized helmet before riding.
- Have your child wear reflective or other highly-visible clothing when they are riding their bike, especially if there will be riding at dawn/dusk or in high-traffic areas where drivers may not see them.
- Never wear earphones or headphones when riding. For starters, you ned to be able to hear oncoming traffic around you to ride safely. Another reason is that the cord can get caught in your bicycle chain while riding, which will not be a fun time!
- Especially if they are riding at night, or even if riding in rainy conditions or around dusk/dawn, install a prepper headlight and rear blinking light on your bicycle to improve visibility.
- Optional: Install an aftermarket horn/bell to alert others that you are nearby, especially pedestrians or other cyclists.
Once you have your bike set up and all your safety gear ready, let’s move on to the rules of the road.
Rules of The Road
- Use hand signals when riding. If your child is starting out it may be better for you to perform these signals so they can focus on riding, but you should still teach your child what they are and how to safely signal to other traffic.
- Left turn: stick your left arm straight out
- Right turn: stick your left arm out but bend your elbow up OR stick your right arm straight out
- Stopping: stick your left arm out with your elbow bent and arm pointing down
- Before pulling into an intersection or crossing the street, make sure to stop, look left, look right, and then look left again. You should also look back and yield to any traffic that is coming from behind you so you don’t get hit from behind.
- Always ride in the direction of traffic on the right side of the road. Never ride against traffic.
- Obey all street signs, traffic lights, and crossing signals.
- Always assume that the driver of a car cannot see you unless you make eye contact with the driver. Even then, ere on the side of caution and assume they didn't actually see you.
Last, we have a special section about riding on the sidewalk. In most places riding on the sidewalk is only permitted for young kids who are learning how to ride, usually until about the age of 10. It is a good idea to start you child out on the sidewalk until they are comfortable enough handling their bike to be able to ride on the side of the road as a normal cyclist.
Sidewalks vs Street Riding
Children less than 10 years of age may not be mature enough to make the necessary decisions to safely ride in the street. If that is the case, we recommend you start them out with riding on the sidewalk, as long as it is permitted in your local area.
- Watch for vehicles turning out of driveways or parking lots
- Stop at the street corner and look both ways for cars before crossing the street.
- If you do have to ride on the street in certain areas, ride with the flow of traffic and tell your child not to stray from the side of the road. Get back onto the sidewalk as soon as possible.
- If there are other pedestrians walking on the sidewalk, teach your child to say “excuse me,” or “passing on your left/right” before going around pedestrians. Alternatively you can invest in a horn or bell installed on the handlebars in order to alert others that you are riding nearby.
- Check your local laws and regulations for riding bikes on the sidewalk or call your local police department to see if they have any further information or safety recommendations.
These tips should be more than enough to get you and your child riding their new Belsize bike! Always remember, safety first, and we are always standing by if you have any questions about riding your bike safely or your belsize bike, send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to assist you. Happy riding!