Now that May is here and the weather is getting warmer, children are more likely to go out and explore their world on their bikes. May not only marks the arrival of warmer weather but also brings attention to two important safety observances: National Bike to School Day and Bike Safety Month. These occasions serve as timely reminders for parents and caregivers to teach children about traffic rules, road signs, signals and safe biking practices.

From wearing helmets to understanding hand signals and navigating intersections safely, educating children about the importance of biking safely is important for their safety and the safety of those around them. Follow these tips to keep your family safe while enjoying bike rides.

Bike safety tips

  1. Always wear a helmet

Helmets should be worn by children and adults every ride, every time. Bike helmets reduce severe head injuries in children by 45% in the event of an unexpected fall or crash. Be sure to discuss the significance of wearing a helmet and making sure it fits correctly with children.

  1. Find the proper fit

Use this easy three step process to properly fit a bike helmet:

  • Eyes. Put the helmet on your head and look up. You should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The helmet should fit firmly on the head and not move from side to side.
  • Ears. The straps should form a “V” under your ears when buckled. The straps should be a little tight but not uncomfortable.
  • Mouth. Say “Ahhh!!!” Open your mouth as wide as you can. Does the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten the straps.

  1. Is your bike in safe condition?

Conduct a quick ABC Quick Check before your ride!

  • A is for Air: Be sure you have enough air in your tires. Check the sidewall of the tire and inflate tires to the rated pressure indicated.
  • B is for Brakes:Look to see that your brake pads and cables are not worn down. For hand brakes, give them a squeeze to check cable tightness.
  • C is for Chain and Cranks: Always check that your chain is clean (free of gunk) and lubricated (rust-free).
  • Don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own? Check out a local bike shop in your area.
  1. Be safe. Be seen.
  • Do you know the rules of the ride? Always use proper hand signals to alert other road users of actions. Click herefor a quick reference guide.
  • It is also helpful to familiarize yourself with bike laws in your local jurisdiction which can often be found on your local Department of Transportation
  • Wear brightly colored and/or reflective clothing. For added safety, reflectors or head and rear lights can be added to your bike.
  • Avoid loose or draped clothing and secure shoes with laces to avoid them being caught in the bike chain, pedals or wheels.
  1. Follow road rules

Help your child to understand the rules of the road when riding his or her bike. It’s important that your child know to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it; respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stop lights, and looking left, right and left again before entering a street or crossing an intersection.

How to teach kids about bike safety

  1. Start early, start simple

Introduce simple and easy traffic rules to children at an early age, even before they start riding bikes. Take advantage of everyday opportunities to teach kids the fundamentals of road safety, such as looking both ways before crossing the street, stopping at stop signs, yielding to pedestrians and using hand signals to indicate turns.

  1. Make it interactive and enjoyable

When teaching children about bike safety, incorporate games and activities to make it enjoyable. Include toy cars and bikes to demonstrate and engage the senses and imagination. In addition, visual aids, such as road signs, posters, charts and flashcards can help children recognize and understand different road signs and signals. Take them on bike rides in the neighborhood to point out various signs and explain their meanings in real-life context. For educational activities and information related to bike safety, check out resources like Safe Kids Worldwide, Bicycle Safer Journey and Safe Routes.

  1. Don’t forget about helmets

It’s important to discuss the significance of wearing a helmet and making sure it fits correctly when teaching kids about bike safety. Demonstrate the correct way to wear a helmet, making sure it sits level on the head, covers the forehead, and is snug but not too tight. Explain to children that helmets are like a protective shield for their heads. Encourage them to always wear a helmet whenever they ride a bike regardless of how short the trip may be.

  1. Be a role model

Children learn by example, so it’s essential to model safe biking behaviors yourself. Always obey traffic laws, use hand signals when turning and demonstrate polite behavior towards pedestrians and other cyclists.

By combining these safe biking practices and strategies to teach children about traffic rules, road signs and signals, you can help them become confident, responsible and careful cyclists. Together, let’s create a culture of safe biking for children of all ages.


Safe Kids Worldwide Safe Kids District of Columbia is a nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries.

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1 reply
  1. Shammy Peterson says:

    The best part of your blog is when you pointed out the importance of using bike helmets since they can reduce head injuries in children by 45%. This is something that I will consider because I am planning to rent bikes for my son and me. What I want is for my child to be trained in riding a bicycle, so I want to do rides with him. Since his safety is my priority, I will do all your tips.


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