Kids Bike Safety
Bike riding is a great way to have fun, stay in shape and for kids to be mobile. Riding a bike provides a doorway to the world past your driveway. Kids of all sizes and shapes can ride a bike. EBCYCLINGLAW wants riders of all ages to be safe when riding a bike.
PARENTS: If your child is under the age of 10, it is advisable for them to ride their bike on the sidewalk instead of on the roadways if it is legal in your neighborhood.
San Diego guidelines for riding bicycles on sidewalks:
- Bicycle riding is allowed on sidewalks, except in business districts: Oceanside, Encinitas, San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Santee, and unincorporated San Diego County
- Bicycle riding on sidewalks forbidden at all times in Carlsbad, El Cajon, Vista, Poway
- Riding on sidewalks regulated but not forbidden: Escondido, San Marcos
- Not regulated: Solana Beach, La Mesa
- Riding in parks prohibited in Del Mar
KIDS: Be cautious when riding your bike—you are a small target compared to a car or truck, and drivers don’t always see bike riders on the road. Be cool and follow these tips to keep you safe when you ride:
Safe Riding Tips
- Visually Inspect Your Bike. Make sure all the various parts are secure and in good working order, inflate tires properly and make sure your brakes work.
- Wear a Bicycle Helmet. It is the law if you are under the age of 18.
- Adjust the Bike to Fit You. Straddle your bicycle. There should be 1-2 inches between you and the top tube of a road bike (3-4 inches for mountain bikes). The seat should be level with the seat height adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebars should be at the same level with the seat.
- See and Be Seen. No matter what time of day you need to be seen by others when riding a bike. Always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors when riding day or night. Reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights are also recommended.
- Don’t Wear Loose Fitting Clothes. It can get caught in bike chains or wheel spokes.
- Control Your Bicycle. Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars. Carry books and other items in a bicycle carrier or backpack.
- Watch for and Avoid Road Hazards. Be on the lookout for hazards like potholes, broken glass, loose gravel, water puddles, and dogs. If you are in the lead while riding with others, call out the hazard to alert the riders behind you.
- Avoid Night Time Riding. It is never recommended for children to ride a bike after dark because they are even more difficult for others to see. If you must ride a bike at night, wear neon or fluorescent clothing to be more easily seen. The use of reflectors on the front and rear of your bicycle (white lights on the front and red rear reflectors) are required in many states, in addition to reflectors on the tires.
- Ride With the Traffic Flow. Ride on the right of other vehicles going the same direction. Go with the flow– not against it.
- Always Use Designated Bike Paths, bike lanes, bike routes where available.
- Obey Traffic Laws. Operating a bicycle is like driving a car. When you ride your bike in the street you must obey all traffic signs, signals, and street markings.
- Yield to Other Traffic. The majority of times, drivers on a smaller road must yield to traffic on a larger road. If there is no stop sign or traffic signal and you are coming from a smaller roadway (or a driveway, parking lot, sidewalk, bike path, etc.) you must slow down and wait until the way is clear before proceeding. Pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right of way.
- Use Hand Signals. Before turning, always look behind you for a break in traffic. Always use hand signals to indicate your moves to others. Watch for vehicles turning in front of you. Ride in a straight line, don’t weave in between cars.
- Stay Alert. Watch out for potholes, cracked pavement, soggy leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks, or anything that could cause an accident while riding a bike. You need your ears to hear traffic or emergency sirens; don’t use a headset while riding.
- Beware of Parked Cars. Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid parked car doors opening or cars pulling away from the curb without signaling.
- Kids Less Than 10 Years Old are better off riding a bike on the sidewalk because they lack the background and experience to make split decisions often faced by vehicle drivers.
- Before riding on a sidewalk, check the law in your state or jurisdiction to make sure sidewalk riding is legal.
- Watch for vehicles coming out of or turning into driveways.
- Stop at corners of sidewalks and streets to look for cars and to make sure drivers see you before crossing.
- Enter a street at a corner and not between parked cars. Alert pedestrians that you are nearby saying, “Excuse me,” or, “Passing on your left,” or use a bell or horn.