Hurray! You have let go of your child's bicycle, and he is pedalling on his own. This marks the start of a newfound freedom, which your child intends to make the most of. Set a good example for your children when you ride your own bicycle.
Some sections of the Highway Safety Code apply specifically to cycling. To teach your children about them, find out more about what the law says.
Like many parents, you might initiate your children to cycling by having them ride in a bicycle trailer or child bicycle seat attached to your own bike. If your child is older, you can ride tandem, by attaching a trailer bike to your own.
What counts is that you make sure your equipment is safe and that you set a good example for your children with respect to safety.
Before letting your budding cyclist ride in the street, remember that bicycle safety starts with having a safe bike… and that a safe bike is one that is visible and well maintained.
Whether young or old, smart cyclists wear brightly coloured clothing and helmets that are adapted to their heads.
When cycling, your child must be visible, by wearing brightly coloured clothing made of reflective material. Orange, yellow, red or green are recommended. The brighter, the better!
Beware of shoelaces, long pants, summer dresses or accessories that could snag in the bike chain and cause a fall. When your children are getting dressed to go cycling, check these little details that can make all the difference.
Helmets remain the most effective piece of equipment to protect a cyclist's head. Head injuries are the main cause of traumatic brain injuries and death among cyclists.
Purchase a helmet that is adapted to your child's head and make sure that it is properly worn. Of course, by wearing a helmet yourself, you are setting a good example.
For more details, visit our section entitled One Head, One Helmet. You will find lots of practical advice to ensure that a bicycle helmet offers its full protection in the event of a fall.
Ready? The bikes are in safe working order, your children are wearing appropriate clothing and their helmets are properly adjusted?
Congratulations! You are ready to go for a ride on the bike path or around the neighbourhood.
While cycling, your child may have difficulty:
Teach your child to look out for cars that are backing out of the driveway and explain that when a vehicle is backing up, its backup lights are on.
Repeat (over and over!) that you should always stay away from large vehicles. Buses, trucks and vans have several blind spots that prevent drivers from seeing things around them properly.
Tell your children:
Affix reflective strips to their bike, shoes and backpack, and attach a flag at the rear of the bike.
Most importantly: don't forget that the bike must be equipped with a front white light and a rear red light when cycling at night. It's the law!
For more details, see the Bikes and Equipment section.
The Safe Cycling Guide (PDF, 1.2 MB) provides practical advice and serves as a refresher on bicycle safety rules.
Electric bikes: special rules and mandatory helmet
If you are accompanying your child on an electric bike or if your child is operating one – which is prohibited before age 14 – read the Electric Bicycles section to know more about the applicable rules.