Riding with toddlers

When it comes to bike riding, safety always comes first.
When it comes to bike riding, safety always comes first. 

Riding a bike is a great way to get around, but you don’t have to give it up when you have little ones – they can come along for the ride too. Here are some tips to help you get pedalling with your precious cargo.

• First things first: you need to wait until your baby is strong enough to sit independently, has strong head control, and can fit into a child’s cycling helmet (and keep it on!). As a result, it’s best to wait till they’re about a year old.

• Do your research to find the gear that suits you and your family best, whether you’re already a seasoned cyclist or you’re just starting out. Read our article on options for family bikes. 

• Safety first: get the best helmets and lights you can afford. It’s important that you’re as visible as possible with your lights and reflective high-visibility cycling gear.

• Know your rights and know your rules: ride conscientiously, ride predictably and have your wits about you.

• Plan your route: be prepared to ride further if it means avoiding the big roads. Stick with bike paths, designated shared roads and quieter streets. (Check with your local council for maps promoting cycle paths, or visit www.bikely.com.)

• Be prepared and gear up before loading your child into the seat. Remember that you can't leave your child unattended on the bike, so you can’t nip inside to grab something.

• Have a pocket or basket for snacks – tired, hungry kids are very distracting.

For more on riding with kids, see 'The family that cycles together' on Essential Kids.