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Children on bicycles: advice on how to ensure they ride safely

Niños en bicicleta: todas las claves para que circulen seguros

18/04/2018

With the onset of good weather we dust off our bicycles, oil the chains and bearings and set off with our family to enjoy the outdoors, or to take a pleasant ride, or simply, to go outside and play.  Children on bicycles are very vulnerable in terms of any accident or fall and we should therefore educate them properly and provide them with essential safety advice both for when they are pedaling on their bikes and when they are passengers.

Children riding bicycles

It is very important to teach children basic safety principles they should follow when on their bicycle. The first and most important point is that they must be well protected in order to avoid injuries if they fall, above all when they are not used to the bicycle or are just starting to learn to ride without help (with the use of stablizers, for example).

As we explained earlier, wearing a helmet is always advisable, whether it is compulsory or not. In the case of children under the age of 16, wearing a helmet is obligatory, both in the city and on the roads. We might tend to think that a private area is not part of the city, and as such the legal obligations do not apply, but it is precisely in such places that it is most important to use this kind of protection. Having a nasty fall in a private park inside a housing development is just as dangerous as a fall on the city streets.

Moreover, having lights on the bike and reflective vests or wearing bright clothing  when riding a bike is very important in terms of safety. If the other pedestrians or road users can see the young child on his or her bike from a distance, all the better. This is particularly important when children reach a certain age and stop biking on the pavement (something which is allowed when they are very young and are accompanied by their parents) and they have to bike on the tarmac, or when they are cycling on intercity roads.

Children as bicycle passengers

Another case in which children travel by bike is when they are passengers and one of their parents or an older brother or sister, for example, is riding the bike (providing they are of legal age). The bicycle rider must observe the rules of the road, which also apply to the young passengers.

In order to correctly take a child on a bike as a passenger, we must be aware that use of a helmet is obligatory. Passengers are always less protected than the cyclist riding the bike. It is a good idea for the adult riding the bike to also wear a helmet despite the fact that it is not compulsory for them to do so since it is a positive example for young children.

A child can only be taken as a passenger on a bike until they are 7 years old, and must always be seated in an additional seat approved by the UNE-EN 14344:2005 standard. You can also find small trailers for bicycles, although they are not expressly regulated. Within the city or town, the regulations state that you must follow the provisions of the municipal ordinances. Therefore, it is down to the particular town hall where you live to decide whether or not this type of trailer can be used.

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