Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Play it safe with Santa's shopping list

If you’re buying shiny new bikes for your children this Christmas, don’t forget to get the right safety-conscious stocking fillers to match.

Taking to two wheels for the first time, with or without stabilisers, is great fun for your young ones and will keep them fit and healthy. But it won’t be long before they want to push the boundaries, cycling further and faster. That’s why you need to get them thinking about safety from the word go.

Make sure that there’s money left in the Christmas budget for a cycle helmet. It’s worth taking the advice of a reputable cycle shop to make sure that it fits and is well adjusted. Parents should set a good example and wear a helmet too.

If your children are skilled and confident enough to ride on the road with or without you, make sure that they have high visibility clothing – fluorescent for daytime and reflective after dark – and lights fitted to their bike.

Our other essential tips for a safe introduction to cycling include:
  • Go off road – there are plenty of safe places away from roads for your child to practice cycling for the first time, including local parks, pathways and gardens. Grass can provide a good soft landing on those early rides.
  • Bike safety checks – teach your child to check their bicycle for brake and tyre defects or other damage and, if you can, how to fix them.
  • Learn road skills – older children aged 11 and above will be more independent and may want to ride to school. There’s a lot to learn before taking to the road and parents should consider the nationally-recognised Bikeability scheme. At Bikeability Level 2, children should be able to demonstrate the skills and understanding to be able to make a safe trip on quiet roads.
Further information about cycling and cycle safety is available from Sustrans, the organisation that supports sustainable transport.

Information about cycle training in East Sussex and Brighton and Hove is available here:

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