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Bike and Small Wheeled Recreation Safety


Cycling and small wheeled recreation are great for family time and fitness. Keep your child safe whether they are a passenger in a bike trailer or mounted carrier, riding their own bike, or taking part in small wheeled recreation like in-line skating, riding a scooter, or skateboarding.

Bike trailers and bike-mounted carriers

Here are some tips to remember while your child is travelling in a bike trailer or carrier:

  • Children aren’t ready to travel in a bike trailer or carrier until they can sit upright, have good head control and are over 1 year of age
  • For children under the age of 18, bike helmets are the law in Alberta.
  • Children must wear a bike helmet that fits them correctly when riding in a bike trailer or carrier.
  • Always follow the instruction that came with your bike trailer or carrier
  • Do not leave your child unattended while in a bike trailer or carrier

Bike Trailers

When using a bike trailer check that:

  • the device is properly secured to your bike. A trailer with a rotating hitch will prevent tipping if the bike falls, and metal bars or a roll cage will prevent your child from being injured if the trailer tips.
  • the harness system is tightened
  • the removable sides are in place
  • there are reflectors on all sides, or you have a trailer that is made of reflective material
  • the trailer is not overloaded
  • the trailer has a brightly coloured flag at least 91 cm (3 feet) tall so that it can be seen more easily

Bike Carriers

Bike-mounted carriers have a high centre of gravity, making them less stable than bike trailers. Your bike is more likely to tip over using a carrier than a trailer. When using a bike-mounted carrier make sure:

  • that the device is properly secured to your bike.
  • the harness system is tightened.
  • your child's feet can’t catch in the wheels.

Using bike-mounted carriers and bike trailers can be a challenge. Practice riding on quiet streets before going onto busy roads and pathways. Install a mirror on your bike handle bars so that you can check your child as you ride. Make sure that both you and your child wear helmets.

You can reduce your child’s risk of a cycling-related injury by making sure the equipment and environment are safe, and that the activity is appropriate for your child’s age.

Current as of: January 8, 2020

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services