Teaching Children About Bicycle Safety - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Teaching Children About Bicycle Safety


The number of adults and children using bicycles might surprise you. It is estimated that 12 million people across Canada who are at least 12 years of age said they rode a bicycle during the past year. What is not surprising is that 82 percent of children between 12 and 14 years of age said they rode bicycles during the previous year. The health benefits of the exercise a person gets from bicycling are well known, but an average of 74 people are killed each year in bicycle-related accidents. Teaching children about bicycle safety is essential.

Rules for bicycle riders in Ontario

Bicycles are defined by the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario as a vehicle with the following characteristics:

  • Is not propelled by a motor
  • Has anywhere from one to three wheels
  • Is equipped with handlebars for steering
  • Has foot pedals riders use to propel it

Although operators are not required to have a license or registration for them, bicycle riders must obey certain rules of the road. Because they are classified as a vehicle under the province’s Highway Traffic Act, bicycle riders must follow certain rules, including:

  • Obey the traffic laws
  • Ride on the right edge of the road
  • Prohibited from carrying passengers unless the bicycle is a tandem and designed to carry two people
  • Stay off controlled access highways

Approved helmets must be worn by riders under 18 years of age. Although not mandatory for adults, they are encouraged in order to avoid head injuries in the event of a fall or a collision.

Making sure your child’s bike is ready

When choosing a bicycle for your child, purchase it at a reputable dealer that can make certain it is the right size. A simple test to determine if a bicycle is not the right size is by having your child straddle the bicycle. Both of your child’s feet should be touching the ground. A bicycle that is too big will prevent your child from placing both feet on the ground.

Make certain your child is wearing an approved helmet that fits properly when the strap is fastened below the child’s chin. The bicycle should also have a bell or horn to signal and reflectors, so it can be seen at dusk or at night. Bicycles that will be on the road after dark should have lights on the front and back for enhanced visibility.

What to teach children about bicycle safety

Children should be taught that roads are not playgrounds. Bicycle riding in the street can be dangerous, so children should be taught by their parents to obey the rules of the road, ride on the extreme right edge of the road surface and do not play while riding.

Other rules you should teach children to keep them safe while riding their bicycles include:

  • When entering the road from a driveway, always stop before entering the street, look left and right for approaching traffic, and do not enter the road until it is safe to do so.
  • Obey all stop signs, and do not enter an intersection after stopping until it is clear of traffic.
  • When crossing the street, dismount and walk the bike across the street.
  • Teach children to scan the road behind them before making a turn and to always use proper hand signals when turning.

It is up to you as the parent to determine when your child is ready to ride and the conditions under which he or she can safely do so.

Bicycle accident and injury compensation lawyers

Whether you or your child has suffered an injury while riding a bicycle, speak to the personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond. They are skilled and compassionate professionals capable of obtaining compensation from drivers, properties and others responsible for causing bicycle accidents and injuries. Don’t delay, contact our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

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