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Cycling for children: can kids cycle on the footpath?

11 February, 2020

Yes - they can! In most Australian states it is legal for kids under the age of 12 to ride on the footpath. Although adults should normally ride on the road or bike path, if you're an accompanying guardian of a child then you're allowed to ride on the footpath too.

Start with a quality kids bike and read on for some useful tips on staying safe, sharing the footpath and gradually getting your child up to riding on the road:

Which bike to choose?

It really depends on the type of riding you plan to do with your child. Kids who will just be cruising on paths and love a bit of style should check out our Vintage kids bikes. If you're the type of parent who is keen to get the kids trying out some trails, the our kids mountain bikes might be the go.

 

Safety First

Choosing the right size bike is important for kids to properly develop their confidence and control. A bike that is too big or too small will be hard to manage. For more information on how to choose a bike that fits your child properly, take a look at our comprehensive Kid's Bike Size Guide.

Whichever type of bike you choose though it is critical for your child to wear a correctly fitted bike helmet that meets Australian Safety Standards (all Reid helmets do). 

Communication is key

Before you ride on the footpath with children, let them know what the rules will be and how you will communicate them. They need to stop when you say stop, look left and right at road crossings, move onto the grass when you ask them to or if someone is coming, and not go until you tell them they can go.

Pedestrians

Pedestrians have right of way on footpaths, so make sure you give way to them. Slow down and make sure they know you are there, either by ringing your bell or by calling “passing” as you slowly overtake them.

Beware of driveways

Scan ahead for cars backing out of driveways. Whilst you could ring your bell to alert them of your presence, they probably won’t hear you with an engine going. Slow right down and stop if you think they haven’t seen you.

Who has right of way?

This rule varies from State to State and is the same if you're on a bike or walking. In Victoria for example, pedestrians and cyclists have right of way when crossing a side street - while in Queensland, the car has right of way. Regardless of who is right though you should always err on the side of caution in case the car driver has other ideas.

Stop, dismount, and walk across the road in the early days of learning to ride. Once you think your child is better at scanning for traffic, you can try to cross without dismounting.

Stay Close

When riding with children, keep close behind them so that you can talk them through what to do and monitor their ride. There is no need to hurry them along. Instead, help them develop their reaction and braking skills.

Practice Makes Perfect

Depending on the State you live in, your child may need to ride on the road from the age of twelve. When they're young, it's much safer to have the kids cycle on the footpath with you, but as they get a bit older (10 or so) and more confident on their bike, it makes sense to give them a feel for the road from time-to-time. Choose quiet, safe and predictable roads to start and then work your way up.

Our great range of kids bikes cater for children aged 4-13. You can check them out here >>