For most people riding a bike is a proud childhood milestone. From your small three-wheeled push along to the big bike with training wheels (eventually graduating to a bike with no training wheels at all!), making your way through the different stages of learning to ride a bike is an exciting time. Getting out into the great outdoors to ride bikes with the little ones in tow is not only the perfect way to create some wonderful memories together, but it’s also good for your health.
Already planning your next bike ride? We’ve put together some bike safety tips for kids to help you keep your little ones safe. Children learn and mirror your behaviours, so it is important for you to be doing the right thing whilst out riding with them also.
Bike safety for kids
- Choose the right sized bike for your child’s height, making sure their feet can touch the ground
- Ensure everyone wears a correctly fitted helmet at all times
- Wear bright clothing. This makes your children more visible to those around them
- When first starting out, choose a safe area to learn to ride
- Teach your child to use their bell to alert others of their presence
- Teach your children to watch out for cars that are coming out of driveways
- Always walk bikes across roads and cross at pedestrian or light crossings where possible
- Maintain your bikes in good working order. You can read up on the minimum safety standards on our blog.
- Riding at night? For optimal bike safety for kids ensure you have working reflectors and rear lights
- Once your kids are more confident riding a bike, learning to use hand signals when turning helps to keep everyone on the road safe
Sharing the roads: Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians
- Stay clear of vehicles: if you are travelling on roads with speeds under 60km/h vehicles need to keep a distance of 1 metre between you and their vehicle. If you are travelling on roads with speeds over 60km/h vehicles need to keep a distance of 1.5 metres away from cyclists
- When riding on the road ensure that you follow all the road rules. You can read about the cycling rules and legislation updates on our blog post
- Always give way to pedestrians at crossings and lights
- When riding on footpaths be mindful as a cyclist to share the path with pedestrians and alert them of your presence by using your bell
- If you are riding on the roads with your children it is best if your child leads the way and you ride a bike length behind them, or at a distance that you can hear and see your child and they can hear you. You can also legally ride two abreast on the road so you can ride beside your child.
Up to what age can children ride on pedestrian footpaths?
As with a lot of laws around Australia every state differs when it comes to riding on footpaths. In Victoria children under 12 years of age can ride on footpaths and in New South Wales the age is under 16. In both states, adults supervising children whilst riding can also ride on the footpath.
In all other states there are no age restrictions for riding on footpaths, unless signed otherwise.
In all cases, it is important to follow the rules on shared paths and as a courtesy to pedestrians keep to the left on your bike.
Be sure to check your local state transport webpages for the most up-to-date information about cycling laws around Australia.
Taking your riding to the next level
Shine Lawyers has a partnership with Cycling Australia and they have many different ways that you and your children can get involved in riding and build their confidence with a selection of programs for all ages.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: March 6, 2020.