Children's Development and Bike Safety
Children learn to ride a bike at different ages, usually between 5 and 8. But knowing how to steer and brake is just one part of riding a bike. Assessing risk is a skill that takes a long time for children to develop.
Typically, an average eight or nine year old can concentrate on one or two things at a time. Traffic is very complex, and so is activity on a sidewalk or on a trail. There are many variables to assess.
For example, at an intersection, a child can have difficulty telling if a motorist is going to run a stop sign or stop. Judging how far away a car is, or how fast it is going are other skills that a child develops over time.
For these reasons and others, children aged nine or under, when they cycle, should be supervised by an adult. Children develop the skills necessary to judge traffic at around the age of ten or eleven. These skills come through a combination of experience and brain development. Adults need to help children understand how traffic works, and what risks are possible.