Back to School: Bike Safety Tips

As the school bells ring and the academic year kicks off, what better way to start the day than with a refreshing bike ride to school? Biking not only promotes physical activity but also contributes to a greener environment. Some communities in Massachusetts, like Cambridge and Fairhaven, have organized weekly bike buses, where students will ride to school together thanks to community volunteers.

If you're thinking about biking with your kid to school, here are four back-to-school biking tips for both kids and adults to ensure a safe and enjoyable biking experience.

1. Check and Maintain Your Bikes Regularly 

Before your first ride to school, inspect your bikes to make sure they're in good working condition. Check the tires for proper inflation, test the brakes, and ensure the gears shift smoothly. A well-maintained bike is essential for a safe ride, reducing the risk of accidents caused by mechanical issues. Watch our ABCs of Bike Maintenance video for helpful tips.

2. Wear Appropriate Safety Gear

Safety should always come first. Both kids and parents should wear appropriate safety gear, including helmets, when biking. Helmets significantly reduce the risk of head injuries in case of a fall or collision. Make sure the helmet fits properly and is worn snugly on the head.  Reflective clothing and accessories can also enhance visibility, especially during early morning rides. Massachusetts state law requires riders to use both a front white light, rear red light, and reflectors from 1/2 hour after sunset until 1/2 hour before sunrise.

3. Review Basic Bike Safety Tips

Parents should teach their kids the importance of biking safely. Remind them to stay aware of their surroundings, and ride in a predictable manner. Teach your child to use hand signals when turning to communicate their intentions to drivers. Encourage them to obey traffic rules and practice proper road etiquette. If you use a bike path for part of our ride, ensure they know to signal to other trail users when they are passing with a polite “on your left” or ring of their bell. You can learn more bike safety tips with the League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Videos.

4. Plan & Practice Your Route

Discuss and plan a route with your child before your first ride to school. Choose roads with designated bike lanes or quieter streets whenever possible and try to avoid busy intersections and high-traffic areas.

Take a few practice rides on the weekend with your child along the chosen route. This will help them become familiar with the path, potential obstacles, and any tricky intersections. Practicing the route together also gives you the opportunity to provide guidance and reinforce safe biking habits.


Back-to-school biking can be a fun and healthy way for kids to start their day while also promoting a sustainable lifestyle. By following these four biking tips, both kids and parents can ensure a safer and more enjoyable biking experience. Massachusetts Safe Routes to School provides bicycle safety education to schools across the Commonwealth. Ask your school if they're a program partner and if they'll participate in Bike, Walk, and Roll to School Day on October 4th.

Remember, safety is paramount, so gear up, check those bikes, and pedal into the school year with confidence!

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