Teach your Kids to Ride this May
Teaching your child to ride a bike can be a very rewarding experience; of course, we also recommend following up with a League Kids I course so their skills are street-ready. Click on the links below for tips and events to get you started.
Download the League's Tip Sheet.
Once a child can hold their head up and fit a helmet, they can be a passenger
Until about age five, kids should ride in a child seat, or better yet, a trailer
Kids need basic motor skills to operate a bike
Explain to kids how traffic works; they have only been passengers
Teach them about yielding, passing, predicting and traffic law
Bicycle riders have to obey the same rules as cars and buses
Let them pick out their helmet and they will want to wear it; wear yours also
Make sure that the helmet fits the child properly; level on the head and snug
Replace the helmet after a crash
Training wheels help the child develop a sense of balance
Start with the training wheels solidly on the ground; they will hold the bike upright
Gradually raise the training wheels; remove them when they start to get in the way
Practice balancing in an open field or vacant parking lot
Have the child practice riding in circles as well as in a straight line
Show them how to use the brakes; get them to skid the rear wheel
Starting and Stopping
Children should learn to stop before entering the roadway
Look left, then right, then left again before proceeding
Driveways, sidewalks and crosswalks are potential danger zones
Use a painted line in a parking lot
Straight-line riding will allow drivers to predict what the child will do
Predictability is important in any traffic situation; kids don't know this
Scanning and Signaling
Have the child ride straight and look back at you without swerving
Children must scan for traffic in front of them as well as behind before signaling
Teach them how to signal right, left and stop and when to do it
Plan a ride with your child around you neighborhood and discuss possible dangers
Allow your child to lead
Include them in the planning of the ride
Bikes are vehicles; this is their introduction to driver's training
Plan a route with your child to get them to a friend's house or school by bike
At about 10, kids are ready for longer trips; make sure they make safe decisions
League Cycling Instructor Rodeos and Clinics
Our extensive network of League Cycling Instructors teach cycling clinics and host rodeos for kids of all levels all across the country. Use the League's Find It tool to find the bike instruction and class your child needs (check Smart Cycling and then hit search).
Walmart and AAA Events
For sheer volume of activities this Bike Month, it's going to be hard to beat the 1,360 WalMart stores that are hosting bike rodeos during the course of the month, complete with in-store Bike Month displays, and Bike Month information being sent to 1.4 million WalMart associates. Check your local Walmart for details.
AAA clubs are also hosting numerous bike rodeos around the country as part of a broader "share the road" promotion. Check your local AAA club for details.