How old do children have to be to be bicycling in the streets?

The Road Traffic Act says that children older than 6 years are allowed to cycle alone.

But you cannot count on children being able to cycle safely in traffic before they are 10-12 years old. Not until the child is 10-12 years old he or she is able to assess other road users' speed and intention and decide what to do in difficult situations. However, many children may begin to cycle alone earlier in selected places, for example pathways to the school.

The best way of getting better at riding a bicycle is to practise. So grab your bicycle together with your children as often as possible while they are young.

What your child needs to learn to become safe on the bicycle

Before your child is taken with you into the traffic, he or she must have learned:

  • To keep his balance on the bicycle during various manoeuvres.
  • To brake safely.
  • To look sideways and backwards without too much lurching.
  • To indicate turns and stops with the hands.
  • To stay on the right hand side.

Alone on the bicycle

When your child is about to start cycling alone, you need to give him or her some clear rules to go by:

  • Find the safest way to school, which your child should then always take.
  • Make clear agreements with your child about where he or she is allowed to cycle, including after school, when visiting friends, etc.

You may also teach your child to get off the bicycle and pull it through the pedestrian crossing when he or she needs to cross a road. In some places, this is easier and safer for your child.