Children should always wear a helmet.
A helmet will not prevent crashes from happening but can provide protection if you do fall off your bike.
Sidewalks are preferred by many young bicyclists, and their parents.
Sidewalks, however, can present a host of hazards to bicyclists. If your children ride on sidewalks, teach them to be safe. Teach them to be cautious when riding past shrubs, fences and buildings that create blind spots at driveways and intersections for both bicyclists and motorists. Teach your children not to enter the intersection unless waved on by the driver, and to look for other traffic that might turn across their path first. Children should warn others before passing them by saying "Excuse me" or "Passing on the left." Remind them that pedestrians always have the right of way on sidewalks and in crosswalks.
Children often fail to stop first and look for traffic.
They do not understand that traffic on the street has the right of way over those entering the street. Teach them to always stop before entering the street, and to look left, right and left again for traffic. Children have limited peripheral vision, so emphasize that they have to turn their heads when looking for traffic.
Wrong way riding is a major contributing cause of bicycle crashes for children.
Teach them to ride on the right side of the street, in the same direction as other traffic. Children should ride about 3 feet from the edge of the road or from the edge of parked cars.
Children need a lot of training and practice to learn how to ride safely.
The best way to teach your children safe bicycling skills is to ride with them. When appropriate, let them lead, so they get used to making decisions on their own. Remember, children learn by watching others, so be sure that you always bike responsibly and wear a helmet.
Teach your children not to swerve.
Children often make left turns, or swerve left around parked cars or other hazards, without looking behind them first to see if there are cars close behind them. Teach your children to do this by having them ride a straight line and look over their left shoulder when you call out their name. When they look back, they should shout out how many fingers you are holding up.
Purchase the right size bicycle for your child.
On a properly sized bicycle, your child should be able to stand over the top bar with their feet flat on the ground and an inch or two of clearance over the bar. They should be able to reach and squeeze the brake levers comfortably. A child who cannot reach the ground or the brake levers will be less likely to stop when required, and the bicycle will be harder to control in general.
Check your child’s bicycle frequently.
Children are tough on bicycles, so they should be inspected regularly. Take your child’s bicycle to a bike shop and have them show you and your child how to check their bicycle to make sure it works properly.