In many childhoods, learning how to ride a bicycle is one of the many rites of passage that come with growing up. If you’re a parent or guardian or just someone who watches over kids occasionally, you might appreciate how bikes are great ways for kids to exercise and burn off energy outdoors. However, you also know the dangers involved. Kids are new riders, so they don’t know about the skinned knees and damage from falls that await them. Letting kids ride their bikes around your house and yard should be a safe space for them to start before they move up to riding to school, but you have to make sure your property is ready first.

1. Helmets Are Non-Negotiable

Head injuries make up most bicycle fatalities, and they also reduce serious head injuries tremendously. This is important for cyclists of any age, especially children whose brains and skulls are still forming. Requiring your kids to wear helmets whenever they ride needs to be a part of bike education on your property.

2. Establish Safe Perimeters

Construct a fence if you want your kids to have a safe play space on your property. You might not immediately think your yard has enough room for kids to bicycle, but they don’t need as much room as adults. Consider your fence’s height, design, and material to find something that can withstand the elements and your young ones.

3. Avoid Distractions

Riding a bike while distracted can turn as deadly as driving a passenger vehicle while distracted. Don’t let your kids wear headphones; tell them to always keep their eyes and ears on what they’re doing. Fortunately, bike riding on your property should involve fewer distractions than the sidewalks and streets they’re not likely ready for.

4. Put the Bikes Down at Dusk

Even in the supposed safety and comfort of your home and yard, riding a bike after it gets dark is never a good idea for children. Riding a bicycle in your dark yard can risk property damage or injuries to pets that kids can’t see that well. Teens and adults should avoid it if they can, and they need reflective gear and clothing if they must ride then.

5. Choose Age-Appropriate Equipment

Kids must wear helmets and pads designed to fit and protect their young bodies. It would be best if you also looked into balance bikes for those still learning how to ride. Provide your kids a space in your yard to ride their bikes on flat surfaces free of interruptions and safety hazards.

6. Pick the Right Plants

Physical barriers are crucial to forming a safe play boundary in your backyard, but thoughtful landscaping inside that space is also necessary. Avoid plants that might have allergen triggers, toxins, or sharp thorns. Remember that curious kids might eat plants or plant parts.

Bikes can be fun, exercise, and a green way for people to commute without polluting, but safety should come before any ride. Always check your child’s bike and equipment before letting them ride, check out the area they’re going to ride, and help them learn and understand all the aspects of safely using a bicycle. Until they’re old enough, keep an eye on them when riding, or ride with them yourself.