Bike Basics For Kids (And Their Parents!)

Do you remember the first time you rode a bike? You probably remember the joy of finally having the freedom to cruise around the neighbor, or the pride of being the first of your friends to ride a bike without training wheels. If you have kids yourself, you’re probably looking forward to the day when they can experience bike riding, too.

Are They Ready?

By age three, most children can pedal a tricycle, and progress to two-wheels by the age of five or six. However, there is really no right time for a child to learn how. A lot depends on their readiness and abilities. Before you child takes on the challenge of biking, check their basic abilities by seeing if they can:

  • Stand on one foot for at least ten seconds.
  • Skip or gallop
  • Perform coordinated lower body tasks, like kicking a soccer ball with alternate feet while running

These tasks show core stability, weight shifting abilities, and coordination, respectively.  More importantly, though, you should make sure your child is ready and willing to ride a bike. If friends and older siblings are learning to ride two-wheel bikes, children might feel pressured into trying, too, even if they are not comfortable. Or, they simply might not be interested in riding a bike. If your child isn’t ready, don’t force them! It will only lead to frustration for everyone.

Their First Bike

When a young child is just starting out, a bicycle with training wheel is a good bet. Training wheels have two additional wheels attached to the back , creating a greater sense of balance. This decreases the chance of injuries while learning, but still allows young child to ride around with their friends and family.

However, some argue that training wheels are ineffective. Since they keep the rider balance, they do not prepare young riders for the steering abilities that are necessary to riding a two-wheel bike. Instead, some prefer balance bikes. Balance bikes do not have pedals, and help a child get used to balance and steering. A regular bike can even become a balance bike if you remove the pedals and lower the seat.

Before buying a bike for your child, be sure to read reviews online or ask friends for recommendations. Stay up-to-date on any recent recalls.

Safety First!

When a kid is learning to ride a bike, minor falls are expected.  However, serious injuries, like broken bones or head trauma, can also occur. Children of all ages— and adults, too! — should always wear a helmet when riding a bike. When a child is starting out, always supervise.

When a child is first starting out, stick to sidewalk or a safe, open area, like a school parking lot on the weekend. Children will be focused on riding the bike, so navigating around traffic or other obstacles creates unnecessary challenges and distractions. When your child is mature enough to ride a bicycle on their own, remind them to obey all traffic laws, cross at crosswalks, and look out for any reckless drivers.

Biking is a fun activity, a great way to exercise, and an important American pastime! As a child learns how to ride a bike, it may be a frustrating struggle at first, but soon you’ll be enjoying it together!

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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