Cycling Safely with Kids

By Lynn Lewis -
Communications Manager

Cycling is an activity that offers many benefits. These benefits range from stress relief to exercise to family fun. Although people of all ages enjoy this sport, perhaps the group that could benefit most from regular bicycle safety discussions is children. For most children, a bicycle is their first vehicle. Although it has only two wheels, it should be viewed as a vehicle and not a toy, as that is the way it is defined by Georgia traffic law. With the freedom and mobility bicycles offer come many responsibilities, including a number of safety considerations that should never be ignored. The following information was compiled from the pamphlet Georgia Bike Sense, A Guide for Cyclists and Motorists, which is a publication of The Georgia Department of Transportation. A PDF of this document is available at

For parents, being a good role model is the first safety tip that should be used when training children to be responsible cyclists.
The best way to impress upon your child the importance of cycling safety is to follow the rules yourself. Always be aware of the rules of the road and wear the appropriate gear when operating a bicycle. Although riding with your child is a fun way to bond, it also is a perfect educational opportunity. Point out safety issues as you are riding. Be certain to mention such things as you are slowing to look for oncoming traffic, stopping for a stop sign, or veering to avoid a potentially hazardous situation. Children will quickly pick up on these things and learn by your example.

As children reach the teen years, they now have the ability to ride independently. This is the time to introduce the basic concepts of group riding to your child. Some group riding practices your child should be aware of include the following:

  • Don’t ride too closely to other cyclists - This is very important in case of an accident. There should be enough room between you and the other person so that their fall will not result in the domino effect. In addition, it is safer to leave a comfortable amount of space between you and another rider in case you need to stop quickly. If your front tire hits the rear tire of the rider in front of you, you likely will cause a crash. Pacelines (several riders riding as a group following very close to each other) should be left to very experienced riders in areas with little traffic.
  • Use hand signals to indicate stops and turns - When riding in traffic or with other cyclists, respect the principle that slower traffic stays to the right and faster traffic passes on the left. Never, under any circumstances, pass another cyclist on the right. As a slow-moving vehicle, cyclists are accustomed to yielding to faster traffic on the left, not the right. Passing on the right can be startling and unexpected, which can lead to a collision.
  • Riding two abreast - If cars are approaching from behind, especially on major thoroughfares or two-lane roads, be courteous and ride single-file until traffic clears. This is safer and shows some respect for other road users. If the road is winding, with lots of blind curves, or hilly, riding two abreast is not recommended. Vehicles coming around a curve or over a hill may be late seeing you and have little time to slow down or react.
  • Warn others - Give verbal warnings to make others aware of upcoming situations. For example, if you are at the front of the pack of riders, call out “car up” to warn those behind you that traffic is approaching. If you are behind others, call out “car back” to warn those ahead that traffic is approaching from behind. Pointing out “glass”, “gravel”, or “debris in the road” also is helpful to riders behind you.


This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

Visit to read the original article.