Bicycle Choice

  • Do not push your child to ride a 2-wheeled bike until he or she is ready, at about age 5 or 6. Consider the child’s coordination and desire to learn to ride. Stick with coaster brakes until your child is older and more experienced.
  • Take your child with you when you shop for the bike, so that he or she can try it out. The value of a properly fitting bike far outweighs the value of surprising your child with a new bike.
  • Buy a bike that is the right size, not one your child has to “grow into.” Oversized bikes are especially dangerous.
  • How to test any style of bike for proper fit:
    • Sitting on the seat with hands on the handlebar, your child must be able to place the balls of both feet on the ground.
    • Straddling the center bar, your child should be able to stand with both feet flat on the ground with about a 1-inch clearance between the crotch and the bar.
    • When buying a bike with hand brakes for an older child, make sure that the child can comfortably grasp the brakes and apply sufficient pressure to stop the bike.
  • A helmet should be standard equipment. Whenever buying a bike, be sure you have a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)-approved helmet for your child.