Bicycles are two wheeled vehicles on which people may be seated, and move along using human power on foot pedals.
Helmets are safety devices worn by the riders to protect the head in the event of a crash or impact. They can prevent or lessen the severity of brain injury that can result from a crash. Helmets are typically made of rigid crushable foam covered by a thin layer of plastic and are held to the head by the use of flexible straps and hardware. Helmets work by absorbing some of the energy from a crash and spreading it over a larger area for a slightly longer time.
Cycling is not only a popular form of transport, but it is also a healthy and enjoyable outdoor activity for children. As with most activities, cycling has the potential to cause injury to the rider, with head injuries being the most common cause of serious disability and fatality.
In Australia, over a ten year period, 37,382 children aged 0-16 years were admitted to hospital for injuries sustained while cycling.1 In 2016-2017, 182 children were admitted to the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network for pedal cycle injuries.2
The law states that bicycles sold in Australia must comply with the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 1927).
In 1991, the bicycle helmet legislation was introduced in NSW making it mandatory for all riders to wear helmets while riding a bicycle.
The law, Trade Practices (Consumer Product Safety Standard) (Bicycle Helmets) Amendment Regulations 2001 (including SLI NO 390 of 2009) states that all helmets for pedal cyclists sold in Australia must comply with the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 2063).
For further information please visit Product Safety | Bicycle Helmets
The law in NSW states that children under the age of 16 and accompanying adult riders may use the footpath for cycling, excluding footpaths with signs prohibiting cycling. Riders are to keep to the left and give way to pedestrians.
The law also states that children 16 years and older must not use the footpaths for cycling unless there is signage to suggest a shared footpath. Cyclists should ride on the road and keep to the left, while using marked bicycle lanes when possible. Furthermore, each bicycle must be fitted with a working brake and a bell and may be fitted with power assistance up to 200W. If a bicycle is to be used at night, it must have front and rear lights and a rear reflector.
- When your child is seated with hands on the handlebar, they must be able to place both feet flat on the ground.
- When they are standing above the horizontal crossbar with both feet flat on the ground, the distance between the bar and your child’s crotch should be 3 cm.
- Make sure that while in the riding position, your child can comfortably grasp the brakes and apply the pressure needed to stop the bicycle.
1 Mitchell R, Curtis K, Foster K. A 10 year review of the characteristics and health outcomes fo injury-related hospitalisations of children in Australia. Day of Difference Foundation. University of Sydney. 5th May 2017.
2 Kids Health Child Health Promotion Unit, Injury-related hospital admissions to Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (2016-2017). Sydney Children’s Hopsitals Network. 2019.