What simple activity can offer little ones a taste of freedom, a rush of joy, and the thrill of newfound adventure? Learning to ride a bike! Something that has become second nature for bike savvy adults over the years is actually a beautiful new experience for kids. It provides many benefits including exercise, play, time in nature, balance, motor skill development, and even a positive impact on mental health. And that’s just to name a few! But we know that as a parent, teaching kids how to stay safe while riding a bike can be a big challenge. So, we have compiled our top tips on bike safety for kids. Grab your wheels and let’s ride!


Teaching a kid to ride a bike can be a wonderful bonding experience between parent and child. While kids might be ready to hop on the bike saddle as early as two, they typically start learning around age five. But remember, every child is different! Whether they start during the toddler years or wait until they are a teen, learning to ride a bike is a wonderful thing at any age. While teaching a new skill can sometimes be frustrating or even nerve wracking, be sure to exercise patience with your child. A positive attitude can help them feel more confident and safe as they take on new challenges!


If your child is afraid, that is completely normal! You can wait as long as they need until they feel more comfortable. To encourage them to get excited about learning, you can provide them with controlled situations to get a small taste of the fun that is to come. You can bring them to a soft grassy area or even start indoors in a hallway. Try having them sit on a bike with training wheels and scoot with their feet on the ground to get started. Be sure to show your child that they can trust you to take care of them when they feel scared or vulnerable. 


Accidents happen! But when it comes to riding a bike, it can pose serious threats to health and safety. Head injuries are common and can be extremely dangerous, and even fatal. That is why it is crucial to always supervise young children while they are riding their bike to make sure they are not engaging in risky behaviors such as riding near the street or improperly wearing their safety gear. Tiny tumbles are common when learning to ride a bike. So, always have a fully stocked and up to date first aid kit on hand. 


Safety always, always comes first! And the most important part of bike safety for kids is wearing a proper helmet. Whether your child still has their training wheels on or is cycling up a storm, there is never an excuse not to wear a good helmet. Make sure to start out with a new helmet that adheres to strict safety standards. When making your purchase, look for a trusted safety certification sticker. Be sure to replace helmets after they have a major impact with a hard surface, as they can lose their protective ability. Always fasten the helmet appropriately. In addition to helmets, if your little one is still learning, knee and elbow pads are a great idea to protect their skin in case of falls.


Kids should always wear appropriate, well fitting clothing and athletic shoes to prevent accidents. That means avoiding long skirts or dresses, baggy clothes, flip flops, cleats, heels, and even going barefoot! Be sure to avoid your child wearing hats under their helmet and keep an eye out for anything that could get caught in the bike’s mechanisms such as backpack straps or an improper outfit. Choose weather appropriate attire to keep your child from getting overheated or chilly. When riding a bike, bright colors are better to help your child be seen, especially in an area that has cars nearby, like a driveway or cul-de-sac. Even better, your child’s bike or clothing should be equipped with something reflective. 


When teaching a kid to ride a bike, it is key to establish boundaries and the rules you want to set as a parent. As young children will have much more stringent restrictions than older children and teens, continue to reassess these rules with age as your child takes on new responsibilities with their bike. For kids who are old enough to ride near or on public roads or paths, abiding by the rules of the road is essential. For example, learning how to signal when preparing to turn or notifying other bikers before passing. Study bike safety rules and talk to your child regularly to make sure they know all of the necessary rules for your area.


As children get older, they are likely to engage in more risky and even dangerous biking activities. For example, e-bikes can reach high speeds. We strongly advise restricting permission to use e-bikes to older teenagers over the age of 16. Teens are also more likely to engage in other dangerous behavior such as riding at night, texting, wearing headphones, sharing their bike seat, and attempting tricks. Be sure to address risky behaviors with your child to help them make smart choices about bike safety.

At Coastal Kids Pediatrics, we believe that all forms of play are crucial for healthy development. So, whether your kiddo is peddling around the yard or coasting around town, health and safety is always our top priority. Your knowledgeable Coastal Kids Pediatrician is here to help you learn more about bike safety for kids and specific riding rules you might suggest for your child based on their individual needs. To make an appointment visit us at www.coastalkids.com. Happy biking!