A Four-Year-Old Rides On The Road

How to enjoy safe & confident cycling with kids… from 4 to 94

Yes cycling with kids. On streets! Check out this video of a family riding regular streets to Sunday Streets in Eugene, OR.

Here are some quick tips.

The child needs a few simple skills:

  • Starting and stopping skills are essential, for obvious reasons.
  • It’s important for the child to be able to ride in straight line.
  • The child must have the attention span and willingness to mind an accompanying adult.

As you can see in the video, these skills can be had by children as young as 4 years old.

The accompanying adult needs some simple skills, too:

  • Be comfortable with lane control so you can ride to the left of your child.
  • Make sure you are knowledgeable about the door zone and other edge hazards.
  • Have good situational awareness so you can anticipate any developing issues in plenty of time to communicate with your child.

The best infrastructure for getting started cycling with kids on the road is a low-speed street with no special bike facilities.* It allows the adult to ride next to the child. This is known as the Wingman position. You saw it in the video with the mom riding to the left of the child. This allows mom maximum vantage for any potential conflicts, while also being able to see and speak to her daughter. For more information about cycling with kids, see this article by Steven Goodridge.

*Except for perhaps well placed shared-lane markings (sharrows) and BIKES MAY USE FULL LANE signs.

cycling with kids illustration

3 replies
  1. valkire
    valkire says:

    Wonderful video. While cycling in Belgium we regularly saw very young children cycling on the streets alone using hand signals and navigating traffic with control and confidence. Of course the motorists respected and expected this. We can get there with the right curriculum, support, and motorist awareness programs.

    Reply

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