Going cycling with your family is a great way to spend quality time together. It’s a fun way to unwind at the weekend or during the school holidays, while taking in fresh air and spotting landmarks in the cities, or immersing ourselves in nature. And cycling isn’t just fun for parents with their toddlers and teens, but also younger babies too.
Can I take my baby on a bike?
In the UK, it’s considered safe to take your baby on a bike with you, if they’re over the age of nine months old and can sit up unsupported. The most important thing is that you feel 100% safe cycling with them on board. There are a variety of carrier options to choose from, so be sure to try out different options to see which you feel most comfortable with. The upper limit is restricted by weight rather than age, with seats typically rated for passengers weighing up to around 20kg (44lb). Exceeding the weight limit will make your bike more difficult to handle.
The most popular carriers for parents in UK cities are the rear fitting baby carriers, whereas the most popular for families in the countryside tend to be pull-along trailers. Don’t be tempted to have your baby strapped to your body in a sling or carrier as this isn’t allowed under the Road Traffic Act 1998. You need to have your bike fitted with a suitable device or attachment to make it legal for cycling with more than one person.
Whichever child bike seat or trailer you choose, always wear a helmet and follow installation instructions and age/height/weight limits.
Can my children cycle to school?
Cycling can be a fun and healthy way of encouraging children to get away from their screens, and enjoying the outdoors. And learning to ride from a young age will equip children with a skill for life. Cycling to school is a good starting point to get children out and about on their bikes, and there are plenty of benefits of cycling to school:
All children under the age of 12 years old should be supervised if cycling to school. You should ensure children wear a cycle helmet and fluorescent/reflective clothing for safety, as well as having lights on their bike.
Children aged 12 years and over have to cycle on the roads by law. If you’re no longer taking your child to school, it’s a good idea to ensure they have a cycling ‘buddy’, such as a friend from school, when they’re out for safety. As well as being road safe, ensure your child knows how to respond to other risks too, eg. meeting strangers or getting lost. Make sure they have a mobile phone so they can get in touch if they run into trouble. And unfortunately accidents can happen and it’s important to be prepared, so ensure your child is able to respond in an emergency. They should know how to make a 999 call, and they need to know their own address.