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enforcement issues & programs

FHWA bicycle safety education resource center

Children & Teens : preschool cyclists ages 1-5

enforcement issues and programs
Whether a child is still a bicycle passenger traveling with a parent or adult on an approved child safety seat or just beginning to try riding under adult supervision, it's never too soon to start teaching her or him the basics of bicycling safety.

Although preschool cyclists do not have the cognitive skills necessary to deal with complex cycling situations, it is vital that this age group begin learning basic safety rules alongside fundamental motor skills. Getting a head start on safety now will put kids on the track to smart lifelong cycling.

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


Children under the age of one should never be transported on a bicycle. Until a child is able to hold up his or her head independently, do not allow her or him to ride as a passenger.
Most children under the age of five will probably not be ready to cycle. But for those who want to learn, they must always remain under the close supervision of a parent or other adult caretaker.

tools and skills
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Tools and Skills

For the preschool cyclist, the essential is key. Learning to control a bicycle while beginning to understand the ways to be careful when you cycle is the most important lesson a child of this age can grasp.
Bicycles are fun to ride, but they are not toys. Teach preschool cyclists that bicycles are different from a Big Wheel or a toy tricycle. Never let them ride without an adult.
For preschoolers who are still strictly a bicycle seat passenger, talk to them about safety as you cycle. Explain why you are stopping to look for traffic, etc. Remember, children will learn to do whatever they see parents and adults do!
Teach the under 5 cyclist to balance and control the bicycle, to cycle in a straight line, to turn without falling, to pedal smoothly, to stop and start.
Teach preschool cyclists how a crash can happen and how to look out for things that could hurt them: Watch out for cars going in and out of driveways. Stay away from cars with engines running. Stop when you get to the end of a sidewalk or driveway. Watch out for other bicyclists and pedestrians.
Teach the under-fives to stay away from the street. Emphasize how hard it is for drivers to see little kids on bicycles and show them how they can make themselves more visible.
Help children pick out the right bike and helmet that best suits their needs and size. Explain why helmets are so important and must be worn at all times. Wear your helmet and set an example.
Help familiarize preschoolers with the different parts of a bike and helmet. Show them how to use the bike's brakes to slow and stop. Teach them to keep their hands and feet away from the spokes and chains. Teach them the importance of getting a bicycle repaired when something is broken.

tools and skills
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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

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

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.

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