:  part of the pedestrian and bicycle information center
sitemap about us -> goes to pbic website links join email list ask us a question
  search     go to
outreach and promotion news bicycling crashes policy and planning rails and trails research and development transit image libraryinsight health and fitness education and enforcement design and engineering community problems and solutions
education & enforcement home

education issues & programs

: overview
: children & teens
: ages 1-5
: ages 5-8
: ages 9-12
: ages 13-17
: adults
: seniors
: motorists
: helmets
: the wide weird world of cycling

enforcement issues & programs

FHWA bicycle safety education resource center

Children & Teens : beginner cyclists ages 5-8

Between the ages of five and eight is the most popular time for kids to learn how to ride a bicycle. Make it the most popular time to learn safe riding skills, too.

tools and skills
  learn about important safety information. more   learn the fundamentals of good bicycling. more   view an extensive list of resources on the web. more


Because kids' cognitive abilities- skills necessary to safely handle complex traffic situations- are still developing, children ages 5-8 are advised not to bicycle on busy streets or major arterials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children in this age group stick to cycling on sidewalks only.
Beginner cyclists should only bicycle with adults when learning to ride.

tools and skills
links top of page

Tools and Skills

Concentrate on teaching the 5-8 year old to develop or continue to develop basic riding skills, like knowing when and how to shift gears as he or she pedals. Teach the 5-8 year old to look behind herself or himself for approaching traffic, while simultaneously cycling in a straight line.
Teach 5-8's to recognize what can cause a fall and how to control a fall. They should learn how to spot roadway hazards and dodge them. Visit the League of American Bicyclists website - better bicycling fact sheets, Rock Dodging, for more >>
Teach 5-8's how to ride carefully on sidewalks, wet roads, and trails. Explain the dangers of night riding, such as low visibility and reduced sight distance- and make sure that this age group avoids riding at night.
Teach 5-8 year-olds about sidewalks, neighborhood streets, paths, trails, and What Makes a Good Route. At this age, they should learn what bike lanes and bike routes are. Visit the League of American Bicyclists website - better bicycling fact sheets, How to Ride in Bike Lanes, for more >>
Teach 5-8's to pay attention to and obey traffic signs, signals, and other markings. Visit the League of American Bicyclists website - better bicycling fact sheets, Traffic Principles, for more >>
Teach them the importance of cycling with traffic, not against it. Like all cyclists, they should ride on the right.
riding on the right Visit the League of American Bicyclists website - better bicycling fact sheets, Reasons to Ride on the Right, for more >>
Teach 5-8's to better judge distances and speeds. Make sure they understand that it is impossible to positively judge distances and speeds.
When crossing the street at an intersection or crosswalk, a 5-8 year old bicyclist should dismount and walk the bike, while taking care to watch for vehicles.
Teach 5-8's how bicyclists and drivers communicate and negotiate with one another. Show them how to use standard hand signals, and make eye contact before moving in front of a car. Explain that a cyclist cannot predict what a driver or anyone else in traffic will do. Emphasize the importance of always showing respect for others traveling on the road. Visit the League of American Bicyclists website - better bicycling fact sheets, Sharing the Road, for more >>
Teach 5-8 year-old cyclists to familiarize themselves with their bicycle and helmet. Demonstrate basic maintenance skills, such as patching tires. Teach them about the brake lights and headlights they will need, how to carry cargo, how to use rain gear, and how to park and lock a bicycle.

tools and skills
links top of page


Choosing the Right Bike and Helmet

Buying a Child a Bicycle

Choosing the Right Size Bicycle for Your Child

Your Bicycle Helmet: A Correct Fit

Helmet Fit Tips

Tips for Getting A Child to Wear a Helmet

For even more comprehensive helmet coverage, visit our helmets page at

  Bicycling With A Child

Carrying Kids on a Bicycle

You're in the Driver's Seat: A Traffic Guide for Adult Bike Drivers

Gearing up for Bicycle Safety safe/outdoor/bike_safety.html

  Special Safety Concerns for Kids

Why Kids are at Risk

Kids and Bikes

Preventing Bicycling Injuries

Dogs in the Neighborhood

Bike Basics

NHTSA's 10 Smart Routes to Bicycle Safety

Learn your ABCs: check out your bike before you take it out!

League of American Bicyclists' 10 Commandments of Cycling

Yes, Safety Can Be Fun!

Looking for adventure? Journey along with NHTSA's Safety City Bike Tour!

Resources, Resources, Resources: Download tip sheets, a bike safety quiz, listings of training programs, catchy brochures, and other fun and handy bicycling resources.

Securing your bicycle--and your stuff

How to Park Your Bike

How to Secure Your Bike

How to Lock Your Bike

How to Carry Your Stuff

Smooth Moves

How to Shift and Change Gears

Caught in the Rain?: Here's how to ride: