Safe cycling for children

publication date: Jan 14, 2013
child cyclistSustrans’ School Travel website contains many resources to help encourage active, safe travel to school. The safety of children is paramount, and here's Sustrans' safety checklist for children:
  • stay visible using hi-vis vests where appropriate
  • avoid shortcuts
  • maintain your bike
  • plan your route and have a back-up plan in case something goes wrong
  • tell your parents or carers about your route and then stick to it
  • arrange to travel with a friend
  • carry a charged mobile phone with credit.
  • plan a safe journey
Equipment and clothing
Cyclists should be as visible as possible to other road users and pedestrians. Confident road positioning (as taught through cycle training), high visibility clothing, and lights and reflectors are great ways to do this. A white front light and red rear light (constant or flashing) are legal requirements when cycling in the dark. An additional red flashing rear light attached to the cyclist’s arm, bag or clothing is also helpful.
Cycle helmets are designed to give protection from a fall. Though not compulsory, Sustrans recommends encouraging children to wear them. Helmets must be fitted correctly to be effective: advice about fitting helmets. Always buy a helmet new, not second hand and replace it after a fall. Make sure it conforms to the current UK safety standard BS EN 1078:1997.
For help with helmets and lights read Sustrans’ Get Cycling booklet online.

Carrying heavy books and equipment is often viewed as a barrier to cycling. Panniers fitted to a rack on the bike are the best solution, although often a small backpack is sufficient.

Insurance and locks
Cycle insurance can be included in household contents insurance policies, or parents can arrange separate cycle insurance. A sturdy D-lock is advisable, and is a requirement of insurance cover for theft. for

Locking your bike:
  • Use a good lock (D lock with a separate cable is best)
  • Make sure your bike is locked to a stand or strong object that can’t be moved
  • Always lock the frame and at least one wheel to the stand
  • Take easily removed items, like lights, with you.

believes every child deserves to be free range, with freedom from their front door to explore, play outside and make their own way to school and beyond. Sustans is  a leading UK charity enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day.