Top tips for cycling safely with children

  • Seek routes, where you can, that are entirely off road, using segregated cycleways away from traffic. For anyone, of any age, cycling on roads is risky. Rural roads with lots of bends and high speeds are particularly risky, and so are urban streets with high volumes of traffic, trucks and buses.
  • Brake doesn’t recommend that children under the age of 10 cycle on roads, ever.
  • Campaign for segregated cycleways in your community, particularly between your home and your children’s school and other community facilities such as shops. Follow the links below to find out more.
  • Get cycle trained.
  • The whole family should wear cycle helmets; set a good example for your children by wearing a helmet too.
  • If you and your children use roads to cycle, make sure you all have lights and wear bright clothing such as high-visibility vests. This particularly helps drivers with poorer vision to see you on dull days as well as at night.
  • Make sure your child’s helmet is new and undamaged. Don’t use a second-hand helmet. Fit your child’s helmet with care, making sure the strap is snug under their chin.

Cycling with very young children

Want to carry a young child by bicycle? It can be a fun way to travel! There are lots of different child carriers available for bicycles, from front and rear-mounted child seats, to trailers, tag-alongs and tow bars.

Be aware that child carriers increase the size of your bike, alter the balance, and can make manoeuvring more challenging.

Child seats on bikes aren’t safety seats with crash protection. Bike trailers place your child at the level of vehicles’ wheels and exhaust fumes, and therefore Brake does not recommend they are used on roads without segregated space for cycling, away from motorised traffic.

Hopefully you have safe cycle paths away from traffic in your community. If you don’t, then it’s a good idea to campaign for change to keep your family and others safe.

A short film about how children can stay as safe as possible when cycling