First road experience for my 10 year old

Discussion in 'Family and Recreational Cycling' started by Sandra6, 27 Jul 2012.

  1. Sandra6

    Sandra6 Veteran

    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ok, I know she's a bit behind some of your more experienced cycling children, but I took my second youngest out on the road for the first time today.
    Usually we stick to the cycle path (shared use no traffic) but as she's done the bikeability thing at school and got the badge to prove it, I thought we should give it a go.
    We only went a couple of miles but she managed a roundabout, couple of junctions and lights and a couple of right turns across traffic (obviously waiting for the traffic to pass!)
    She did really well.
    She was in front and behind me equally, but I'm still not sure what was better/easiest for either of us.
    Coming home I followed her and made sure she knew how to make decisions at turns etc, and apart from her forgetting which side of the road to be on just as we approached our house!! Fortunately with nothing coming! She was spot on.
     
  2. Andy_R

    Andy_R Hard of hearing..I said Herd of Herring..oh FFS..

    Location:
    County Durham
    Top marks that young lady, but be careful. She'll have done her level 2 bikeability which will have included road positioning, major to minor turns and vice versa, passing parked cars etc on quieter roads. What she won't have covered will be roundabouts, traffic lights and using busier roads, and these are areas where you will need to be slightly behind her but in an exagerated primary position so you can see excatly what she's doing and you can also "shield" her from other traffic if needs be.....keep it up though:thumbsup:
     
    skudupnorth likes this.
  3. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Location:
    Bristol
    Well Done:bravo: .

    I use a combination of behind, beside and in front of my children, though most often behind. Just occasionally the other positions offer an advantage, such as on a very narrow road with on-coming aggressive traffic for example (namely the road by the school, where even the pavement is considered ok for cars to drive on if they need to pass each other).

    Now there is nothing to beat doing it more often to build up her experience:bicycle: .
     
  4. Ian Cooper

    Ian Cooper Expat Yorkshireman

    I have a 9 year-old and we've been going through the same process this summer. I always stick behind the kid, so she gets used to making all her own decisions on the road. I find that if I take the lead, I (albeit subconsciously) make some decisions for her, and that's not a good idea.

    One situation where I would take the lead would be when it comes to teaching her not to follow the bike in front. But we're not there yet, as I'm not sure she's old enough.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Sandra6

    Sandra6 Veteran

    Location:
    Cumbria
    At first I assumed being behind her was better - so I can see what she's doing, and so she has to make decisions. Although I tend to pull alongside at junctions and stop -turns. BUT if she's behind me, motorists see a child on the road and give her more room, than if they see me. I'm worried if they see me, and don't really allow enough space, they won't then have time to see her and there's more risk of an accident??
    I dunno.
    I encouraged her to take a strong secondary, while I rode primary, just seemed the safest option and as she so wisely said "we've got as much right to be on the road as the cars"
    Love that child!
     
  6. Boris Bajic

    Boris Bajic Guest

    Top marks! There's no 'too old' or 'too young'.

    Better now than tomorrow. Hurrah for getting her out there.

    When mine first went on the road I rode behind and slightly to their offside.

    Approaching roundabouts and some light-controlled junctions I went in front.

    It sounds as if you have all the bases covered.

    Some other things that worked for us: I used to ask mine randomly what colour the car behind was or how many people were in it. They seemed to like getting it right and it helped them to remember to be aware of what was on the road with them. Ten may be toio old for that game to be fun, but maybe not.

    Teach respect for kerbs and ridges. Many, many of the cycling children I know have come to grief by approacking kerbs at too narrow and angle. Two of mine bit the dust that way.

    Discuss trafficky things when you're out driving or walking. A lot of road sense is picked up when not cycling. it can be done in a 'not obviously a lesson' sort of way. It makes sense for non-drivers to have a good chance to see how cyclists appear (or fail to appear) to the occupants of cars.

    But those are just disconencted thoughts....

    ignore at your leisure.

    Well done for getting her going!
     
  7. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Location:
    Bristol
    Yes - my youngest learnt that lesson (the hard way) quite early on when he was on his 16" wheeled bike!!!
     
  8. Ian Cooper

    Ian Cooper Expat Yorkshireman

    It seems from what you've written that you are very wary of traffic. If you're in the correct lane position, traffic will give you enough space, whatever your size or age. The point of proper lane positioning is to control the lane and force motorists to behave - and if they still don't, primary gives you room to the left to manoeuvre. Secondary doesn't give you as much room, which is why it's less safe.

    If I were you, I would encourage her to take primary whenever possible, which is always the safest option. According to John Franklin, secondary is always less safe and is only to be used when you feel confident enough to facilitate passing. Since most of us did not grow up in a world where John Franklin's 'Cyclecraft' or John Forester's 'Effective Cycling' were well known (or even published yet - Effective Cycling only saw the light of day in 1976, while Cyclecraft hit shelves in 1988), we all come with baggage in terms of traffic fear, so it's important, I think, to be careful not to transfer any fear you have of traffic to your daughter. You need her to be taking the correct lane position for the road (whatever position that is, you should both be in it, otherwise, what's the point?)
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Sandra6

    Sandra6 Veteran

    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ian - I am wary of traffic, in the same way I'm wary of thugs or wild animals, ime it doesn't pay to be complacent.
    And I don't think it is always the case that traffic will give you enough room, otherwise why are so many of us reporting close passes or accidents caused by drivers not giving enough room?
    I think for a child on the road the correct position is closer to the kerb, but not right up to it. Actually, I think in most cycling circumstances that's the best place to be. I find I only need to be in primary when I'm making a turn or on a narrow road where a silly motorist might unwisely choose to overtake.
    I may change my mind on this with experience, but for now it's working out quite well.
     
    Pat "5mph" likes this.
  10. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Location:
    Bristol
    In my opinion as an adult it is far easier to take primary position when you are going faster. For children, their speeds are likely (not all) to be slower. My youngest has a tendency to ride a little too wide in my opinion (whereas my middle child has to be coaxed out of the gutter), I want him to have the confidence to take primary when necessary but not to unnecessarily wind up motorists and get into potential situations by over using primary. It probably depends on the environment where you ride.
     
    Pat "5mph" likes this.
  11. Ian Cooper

    Ian Cooper Expat Yorkshireman

    No one's saying you should be complacent. But there's a big difference between a thug or a wild animal and a parent driving his/her child to school. Your fears, I believe, are caused by dangerous passes that are encouraged by the cyclist taking an incorrect lane position - as is the case for 90%+ of all cyclists.

    Drivers tend to pass cyclists who ride in a lane position that encourages in-lane passing (squeezing by). 90% or more of all cyclists have no idea of correct lane positioning, and they tend to ride way too close to the kerb. That's why cycling safety courses advise cyclists to ride well into the lane. If you ride far enough out, close passes are minimized, if not eradicated.

    I'm telling you, you're wrong, and I'm speaking as a person who has taken a cycling instructor course. Those who prefer not to ride in primary position as a default position are taking an increased risk of collision.

    But heck, do what you want. I can't force you to be safe.
     
  12. Andy_R

    Andy_R Hard of hearing..I said Herd of Herring..oh FFS..

    Location:
    County Durham
    As far as I'm aware, taking primary is only recommended if you are able to keep up with the flow of traffic, or if staying in secondary could create an unsafe environment (ie at a pinch point, turning at a junction).

    I think you'll find that most courses recommend that you ride in the edge of the flow of traffic.

    I don't know what instructor course you've been on but I would question it's validity if it recommends primary as the default. And this is from an DfT Instructor Trainer, i.e. myself.

    Sandra6, analyze the situation; traffic flow, speed, rider confidence and ability and adapt your hazard management to suit. Don't let others browbeat you into something that you are not happy doing or allowing your child to do. Be safe, be happy and most of all enjoy your cycling with your daughter. Ignore those who are telling you to make your daughter run as she's only just discovered how to walk as it were and needs to build up her confidence and ability with practise over time.
     
    Maz, Pat "5mph" and Boris Bajic like this.
  13. OP
    OP
    Sandra6

    Sandra6 Veteran

    Location:
    Cumbria
    No one's saying you should be complacent. But there's a big difference between a thug or a wild animal and a parent driving his/her child to school.

    I know which one I'd rather pat on the nose! There's a lot more traffic on the road than school run mums!
    Thank you for your advice, and now it's up to me to take heed or ignore it.

    Thank you Andy R "
    "As far as I'm aware, taking primary is only recommended if you are able to keep up with the flow of traffic, or if staying in secondary could create an unsafe environment (ie at a pinch point, turning at a junction)"
    That's what I thought.
     
  14. MrJamie

    MrJamie Oaf on a Bike

    Very well done Sandra :smile:

    When i (admittedly rarely) ride on road sections with my nephew, I have him keeping leftish while I ride behind him and offset in a protective secondary or primary when required. He still swerves about a fair bit, especially when changing gear or looking at kids playing, enough that I dont want him riding in the edge of the traffic flow regardless of what the cycling bibles say. I dont see how the stats of "gutter riding" apply, they cant close pass him because im riding well in the traffic flow controlling it and he doesnt ride alone.

    He's done a few small junctions and mini roundabouts under instruction and ill help him learn about road riding before he starts cycling alone.
     
  15. KateK

    KateK Well-Known Member

    Location:
    cambridgeshire
    As the mother of a 12 and 14 year old who both did bikeability and both cycle to school I would just say: make sure you cycle somewhere with them on a regular basis as they may learn what to do and start off doing it but bad encounters particularly with impatient drivers can cause them to lose confidence. we recently discovered that both of ours were stopping by the kerb at jns when they were planning to go straight on or (even more scarily) right..I think this was because they felt nervous looking over their sholder and pulling out into position approaching a junction. We had a session this afternoon with two thomas the tank engines (as cars) a playmobile bicycle and the Queen in a playmobil incubator (standing in for a bicycle) and a drawn plan of our local road junction. I think it worked... I also talked to them about unpredictable things cars do and how you can anticipate that, eg being ready to break when coming up to side junctions (saved me from a Canyonero impact on Monday, straight across the road in front of me, out of town, I was going at about 20mph before I saw him but I didn't trust him)
     
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