Hints and Tips - Riding as a Family

It’s your first trip out as a family together, the bikes are ready, you’ve planned your route, you’ve got a picnic or identified the café, but how should you move along the road as a group? Below are a few tips to cycle with children.

Planning – Check List

  • Do you know where you are going and how long it will take? Have you made sure all the family, or group can cope with the distance and terrain (eg hills)?
  • Have you got food and drink if necessary?
  • Has everyone has got suitable clothing, and are prepared for changes in the weather?
  • Is everyone clear on the order you will be cycling in and how you will tackle turnings, junctions or obstacles?
  • Have you checked everyone’s shoelaces are tied and that there is nothing hanging down which could get caught in the chain or brakes?
  • Have you done an equipment check?
    – Do ensure that helmets fit tightly around the circumference of the head and the strap is secure below the chin, with enough room to fit two fingers between the strap and the chin.
    – Check the bikes over first using the M or ABC check (some advice from our friends at Sustrans) Also explained in our Parent’s Handbook

Your Position on the Road

  • Ride confidently and position yourself where you are more visible to other road users
  • Ride behind your children, and slightly to the right, where you can see your children and ride at their pace. This will create more space between them and passing traffic
  • Ensure that you are close enough to hear each other and encourage your children to check behind regularly to check you are still close

Riding as a Group

  • It is a good idea to position the children who are most proficient at cycling (e.g. trained to Bikeability Level 2) at the front. If there are two adults in the group, then the best option is to have one adult in front and one at the back. If there is only one adult, make a considered decision about whether it is safe enough to have more than two children in the group
  • You may ride side by side with you children, position yourself on their right. (The Highway Code advises you not to ride more than two abreast)
  • When you are on the road, ride as a unit and keep the together as one piece of traffic. Your aim will be to negotiate junctions together, tackling the priority system as one. Rather than dashing across individually


On your route you will need to cycle past side roads, pass parked cards and overtake slower traffic. To pass correctly, make sure you look behind and ahead, understand who has the right of way and move out when there is time and space to do so. Make sure you also anticipate the manoeuvre before your children reach a side road or pass parked cars.

  • As you approach ensure that there are no cars close behind you and move into the primary position – ie the middle of the lane. This is the default road position for cycling on busy roads and complex junctions. It gives you the greatest control of your road space. It offers most options for avoiding hazards and makes you more visible to other road users.
  • Move into primary position before your children so that drivers are prevented from passing on the approach to the junction

You can use the same process when approaching traffic islands, ‘pinch points’ or when riding on narrow streets where there is not enough room for a cyclist and a driver to safely pass each other.


T-junctions, side roads, crossroads and roundabouts are all negotiated using the same basic sequence, there are always four things to do:

  • Look: Behind and ahead, consider rights of way and consider time and space
  • Communicate: By signalling your intentions if other road users are present
  • Position: When time and space permit, approach the junction in primary position, hold primary position through to the junction exit
  • Priority: Give way where you need to, if crossing a lane or entering a new lane and other road users have right of way

Further Sources of Advice & Information

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What to do with this list

These registered Bikeability providers have said they deliver Bikeability training in your area, either through scheduled courses or in response to individual requests. If your local authority provides Bikeability, their details are at the top of the list.

Please contact any of the listed providers by email or phone to discuss your training needs.

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