Kids Bike Safety and Choosing a Balance Bike

Taking a young child on a bicycle ride is a good way to show them the fun of bicycling. This video is a good example of a front mounted children’s bicycle safety seats. Kids bike seats back mounted are also popular and discussed here. However, there are several safety “violations” in the video. Can you spot them? We’ll mention them at the end of the article.

On the positive side, notice the clearance Mom has for her knees. The seat is no impediment to her her leg movement either when pedaling or when she stops and has to balance the bike. With the seat front mounted, mother’s arms offer additional protection to her child and she has control of the child’s movements. More importantly, it is easier to handle the weight of a child when it is positioned in front of the rider and between her arms.

This video demonstrates a center mounted children’s bicycle safety seats. It has the same advantages as the front mounted typed but positions the child closer to the rider and more in line with the rider’s center of gravity. Like any other activity we do with children we should always put safety first. Safety becomes a concern if we want to have the child ride the same bicycle we do. Some parents may not feel comfortable with the child riding behind them. 

With a rear mounted children’s bicycle safety seat on a bicycle the center of gravity is changed and some parents are concerned, rightly so, that movement from the child may make balancing and controlling the bike harder. The higher the seat is above the rear axle and the weight of the child are factors to consider when purchasing a child carrier for a bicycle.

Design changes have made it possible for parents and children to enjoy safer and more comfortable bike rides. Even when all the safety precautions have been taken, like helmets for both parent and child, safety check of bike before going on ride and proper clothing and footwear, there still may be a concern with the child riding behind the parent. You can also buy a balance bike for your little kid to learn balance first and then try  regular one. The balance bike does not have any pedals and your kid can learn more easily to balance. We will be discussing more about how to choose a good balance bike in UK later in this article.

Many parents want to be able to see their child. Others feel it is easier to steer, balance and control the bicycle with the child in front of them. The solution for parents with these concerns may be the center mounted or front mounted bicycle safety seats. Center mounted child carriers position the child directly in front of the rider and on the cross bar of the bike.

Front mounted child carriers mount on the handle bar stem and position the child well forward. This positioning allows for unrestricted leg movement so no knee knocking on the carrier. The front or center mounted carriers also offer the child the added protection of the parents arms. Personally, I have ridden many, many miles on a bicycle. Sixty to one hundred mile rides were not uncommon. I know from experience handling any additional weight, be it from cargo or a child in a safety carrier, is easier when the weight is in front of me.

Advantages to having the child ride in front of the parent. The child gets a better view and will likely enjoy the ride more. Because the parent can control and observe the child’s movements there is less chance of losing one’s balance. Experts agree mounting the carrier in the center versus over the rear tire provided better stability and protects against unexpected weight shifts by the child.

It is always a good idea to check as many sources as possible when researching a purchase. I recommend checking the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for information on the products you may purchase. To the Mom in the first video we would make the following safety recommendations:

Rider should also be wearing an approved an approved helmet. In fact, we strongly recommend all riders of any age and skill level wear a helmet. If the bike does not have a chain guard, and the bike in this video does not appear to, a clip or elastic band of some sort should be used to hold long pants or trousers close to the leg to prevent fouling the chain. Catastrophic accidents can occur when the chain is suddenly jammed by a pants leg. The bicycle will stop immediately, often throwing the rider forward over the handle bars. A rear-view mirror, which can be easily attached to a pair of sunglasses, will allow the rider to monitor traffic coming up behind them.

What is Balance Bike

A balance bike is a two-wheeled pedal-less bike that teaches kids as young as 18-months to balance on two wheels. The aim of a Balance Bike is to focus on learning how to balance and to then let steering come naturally. There are so many reasons to choose a balance bike instead of a bike with stabilisers or a trike as your child’s first bike. As well as improving balance, steering skills are developed as the child has full control over the handlebars, and therefore direction, of the bike. After a brief learning period, toddlers and kids learn to ride, jump and coast on their bikes with no assistance from their parents.

By having no pedals the child can concentrate on learning the art of balance by sitting on the saddle and propelling themselves forward with a striding motion, keeping one or two feet on the ground at all times. Most cycle instructors agree it’s best to learn to balance first, before moving on to pedaling unaided. As balance improves, the number of pushes needed to move around will reduce so that within no time at all your child is ‘scooting’ along, with their body weight positioned to give stability. Balance bikes are a replacement for tricycles and training wheels as they are designed to be used during the ages that a child would typically ride a tricycle or use training wheels.

You will know when the child has learn to balance as they will confidently lift both feet off the ground while they whizz along. Your child will have more control over their bike and will learn to slow down and stop properly right from the start. Before you know it they will be coasting around and it won’t be too long before they’re ready to move up to a first pedal bike.

Advantages of balance bike

Balance bikes involve not only physical activity and entertainment, but also education of even the youngest children. Balance bikes give children independence as they are able to just drive around without the aid of bothersome stabilizers, feeling awkward, and unsteady. They are lightweight and simple, yet focus on the fundamental skill development of balancing on two wheels. Balance isn’t the only useful thing your child will learn from one of these bikes. The bikes are great helpers when it comes to introducing basic traffic rules, using caution, and developing situational awareness.

  • They can be surprisingly fast with them and balance bikes are great for a quick dash to the shops and for the nursery run, for example.
  • They teach proper steering technique for a seamless transition to a pedal bike, they are easily portable, and they offer mobility on all types of terrain.
  • The design of a balance bike encourages kids to use their arms and lift their legs when moving forward.
  • One of the biggest advantages of the balance bike method is that children as young as 2 learn to balance on their own without explanation, coaching, or unnecessary stress.
  • Much faster than dragging your children behind or carrying them.

They don’t enhance mobility over walking or running, and can’t go on varied terrain such as grass, dirt or gravel. This not only helps them to build up their strength, it also helps them to fine tune their motor skills, coordination and agility. They are very proud of themselves and immediately become fond of cycling. And so much more fun, too. They don’t adjust to fit a growing child and don’t aid in the transition to a pedal bike later on.

Balance bikes involve not only physical activity and entertainment, but also education of even the youngest children. Many of us learnt to ride a bike with stabilisers, and we’re proof that they work! Most balance bikes come with an adjustable seat which can be adjusted to accommodate your child and provide that perfect fit. Some adults prefer to teach youngsters on regular bikes, with the assistance of training wheels, while still others worry that balance bikes are too expensive, or just a fad. The bikes are great helpers when it comes to introducing basic traffic rules, using caution, and developing situational awareness.

However, the problem with stabilisers is that many children become reliant on them, preventing kids from developing their balancing skills. Interestingly, the adjustable seat height can start at just eleven (11) inches from the ground, making the bike quite accommodating for even the shortest legs. Proponents argue that the balance bikes are much safer and allow kids to start riding at younger ages. One of the biggest advantages of the balance bike method is that children as young as 2 learn to balance on their own without explanation, coaching, or unnecessary stress. Many children end up leaning on the stabilisers, and they also prevent countersteering. Particularly for those who don’t have the leg strength to push pedals, the simplicity of propelling themselves provides freedom without complication. They are very proud of themselves and immediately become fond of cycling.

Balance bike buying guide in UK

Choosing the right balance bike might seem simple in comparison to a pedal bike; there are less moving components, they appear easy to operate, they are small, and they cost far less than a full sized pedal bike. Children can start riding balance bikes when they’re around 18-months to two years old, and little ones up to around the age of five enjoy them. Made of allow and lightweight parts carefully custom sized for new riders, the ByK balance bike range is a great way to learn the core skills of bike riding, without all the fuss and weight of pedals, and allow young kids to keep up with grown-ups walking speed! Again this wasn’t part of detailed our group test, but our toddler tester took a spin around Evans on this. But don’t be fooled, there are many things to consider to ensure you choose the right bike.

  • In most cases, children will move on to a bike with pedals at around the age of four.
  • We’ve detailed the many benefits of learning balance skills early in another article but here you will find out how to properly choose the right size balance bike for your child and understand a bit more about the ByK balance bike design.
  • We were impressed by the footplate and handy grab handle on the back of the saddle.
  • When you choose something for your kids, of course you consider your kid’s choice.
  • There isn’t a top end restriction on age, though, and you can even get balance bikes for adults.

With these, it lets the kiddo get used to balancing around on a bike while giving them the reassurance of always being able to touch the ground. The brake is OK for little hands, too. What type of balance bikes you want and what type of designs your kids will like? You should also consider the height of the child; the bike should allow the child to sit properly and also get to the ground without stretching too much. Their natural inclination is to see how far they can “coast” without touching the ground.

And the £90 price tag is the lowest of our selection. Okay, Normally there are two designs or types are available, two-wheel bike and three-wheel bike. You should also think of the safety of the child. This was part of the group test in Cycle magazine, it came third mostly because the brake lever was so hard for our three-year-old tester to pull. You can choose one of these types to teach your kids learn balance and you will help the kids to grow confidence.

Some of the best balance bikes come with a steering limiter, which ensures that the child does not over- steer and fall. Brake lever aside, it is a good balance bike. By this age, kids are ready to leave the driveway and test their skills on dirt, rocks, grass, and hills. The FirstBike cross has knobby tires that provide the traction needed to take on these challenges. And once the bike is thoroughly covered in dirt and mud, you can clean it in a hurry with the waterproof, easy to clean composite frame.

This entry was posted in Child. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.