If you ask a parent one of their most stressful experiences, trying to organise a family bike ride may be up there with the popular answers – and for good reason! Cycling with kids can be dangerous, especially if you’re heading towards busy roads, so you should take extra precautions when planning a family bike ride.
According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, a total of 1,929 children were either killed, slightly or seriously injured as a cyclist in 2015 and with that number increasing as more children enjoy bike rides, keeping kids safe when cycling should always be your main priority when planning a family bike ride.
In this guide, we’ve shared the five tips you should bear in mind when cycling with kids, along with how you can plan a family cycling route to limit the risk of being involved in serious accidents:
The first thing you should do when planning a kid’s bike ride is to ensure that they have the appropriate safety equipment. This includes:
Not only will this safety equipment help them to feel more confident, but it’ll give them extra protection if the worst-case scenario does happen.
Before planning a bike ride that involved busy roads, you should make sure that your children are confident on their bike. If they’re still nervous and apprehensive, it could lead to them making silly mistakes and putting themselves at-risk of being involved in a collision.
You can build your children’s cycling confidence by practicing their bike riding skills up and down the garden or quiet street, or gradually building up the exposure they have to busy roads when on their bike.
Giving them time to get used to their bicycle; you should never force a child to cycle a complex route when their under-experienced or under-skilled.
You may also want to think about educating your children on cycling law before planning a long kid’s bike ride. The Highway Code has a section on the rules that all cyclists should follow, so this should help your child to understand what they can and cannot do when cycling on the road.
These days, many schools and educational facilities offer cycling training for children. Ideal if you’re unable to devote time to cycling as a family, these boot camp-style training courses can help your child to learn new skills before cycling on busy roads.
When planning a family bike ride, you may struggle to find a position that allows you to both direct your child and keep an eye on them. As single-file cycling isn’t a requirement for UK cyclists, you may want to cycle beside your child on the side nearest to the road.
In areas where you’re unable to cycle side-by-side, it’s a good idea to allow your child to lead. However, this type of cycling for families should only be done in quieter areas. Otherwise, they may not be able to hear your attempts to communicate.
As you can see, bike riding with kids doesn’t have to be dangerous. However, accidents do happen through the fault of someone else. Remember that if you – or your child – have been involved in a bike crash accident, you may be entitled to claim compensation for the experience.