What can I – and can’t I – do?

You can:

Meet with your friends

As long as you don’t stop anyone else from enjoying their rights

Cross the road

You can cross the road on your own once you’re old enough to understand how to cross the road safely. Your parents or people with parental responsibility for you should help you learn how to cross the road safely.

Go on public transport

As long as you’re old enough to keep yourself safe.

Ride a bike

You can cycle on the road once you feel confident and can follow the Highway Code. You have to make sure your bike is in good condition and won’t be dangerous when you ride it.

You’re not allowed to ride a bike on the pavement – it’s illegal at any age, but if you’re under 10, you can’t be held criminally responsible. This doesn’t mean you won’t get into trouble, but it will be different to what might happen to someone 10 or older.

Ride a Moped

You can ride a moped once you are 16 as long as you have a provisional licence and complete Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) before you ride it on the roads.

Drive a car
Once you are 17 you can learn to drive a car. You have to have a provisional licence and pass your driving theory test before you can take your driving test.

You can't:

Drink alcohol

You can’t buy alcohol until you’re 18.

Although you’re allowed to drink alcohol at home, you aren’t allowed to drink in a public place like a park, until you’re 18 (and you can only drink in public once you’re 18 if there are no local rules or byelaws that prevent it).

If you are caught by the police drinking in a public place you can get fined or even arrested.

If you’re caught with alcohol in a public place and you’re under 18, the police can take it off you. If this happens 3 times, you might get arrested and end up with a criminal record.

Carry a knife, a gun or a banned weapon

You can only carry a knife if you’ve got a good reason – like you need a knife for work and you are going to work when you have the knife with you. You can’t carry a knife for ‘self-defence’ – this isn’t a good reason to carry a knife. You can only have a gun once you are 18 and have a firearms certificate, and there are other banned weapons that you can’t carry around with you when you’re out.

Smoke in an enclosed public space

You can’t smoke in an enclosed public space. In Wales, there is a ‘voluntary ban’ on smoking in children’s playgrounds and on a small number of beaches too. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has recommended that smoking near play spaces should be banned, acting on research submitted by children under 11 in Wales.

Let off fireworks

You can’t set off or throw fireworks in the street or in a public place.

Do anything that could hurt someone else or make them feel threatened

This is the opposite side of your right to be able to meet and hang out with your friends. You can only do this is you don’t behave in a way that upsets other people and means they don’t have their rights. If you’re behaving anti-socially, the police can tell you to leave an area – and in some cases can take you home.