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6YO child safety riding bike on our estate - advice required

(8 Posts)
KBabs Wed 01-May-13 11:59:43

hi there, I'm new to Mumsnet and this is my first posting. I don't have children myself but last night I noticed a little lad (he's just turned 6) who lives on our street riding a bike in the road, without a helmet or reflective clothing, no lights fitted on bike, without parental supervision. I noticed him at around 7.45pm and then saw him go past our place on the bike again at 8.30pm or so. We live on an estate rather than on a main road but the street design - there is only 1 long interconnecting street linking up all the closes so there are still cars able to drive around with speeds of 5-20MPH. I spoke to my OH about this, he was quite relaxed about kids riding bikes, and thought it was no big deal, I know when I was a kid (ages ago!) we did not have helmets but I had been taught road safety at school and I didn't ride my bike unsupervised until I was about 8 or 9. We don't have kids ourselves so we don't know if this acceptable or not anymore! Any advice? I do know him/his parents a bit and I would be OK to speak with them about it directly but want to check what is considered reasonable/unreasonable by other parents before I do this so that it is a measured response. Thanks in advance!

cathan Wed 01-May-13 14:36:32

It sounds very unsafe to me. In the "good old days" there were far fewer cars and they didn't drive as fast. If it were me, I'm mention my concerns to the parents as diplomatically as possible stressing that car drivers can be reckless and perhaps the lad shouldn't be a) riding without a helmet, lights or reflective clothing and b) out unsupervised so late into the evening at such a young age. They probably won't thank you for interferring, but at least you'll know you did something. If it were me, I'd also have a quiet word to the community police officer - riding without lights at night is an offense, whatever your age!

pumpkinsweetie Wed 01-May-13 14:41:52

You sound very caring op, but i wouldn't approach the parents for fear of retaliation.
7:45 pm is shockingly late for a little boy to be out alone, but it sounds to me like his parents don't really care for his welfare too much or he wouldn't be out at that time in the first place sad
Sounds harsh, but there isn't really a lot you can do except hope nothing bad happens to him.
Its awful to hear things like this and from growing up there has always been neglectful parents about and its so sad people have such little disregard for their children's welfare sad

KBabs Wed 01-May-13 17:40:06

Thank you for the advice and suggestions so far. I think he had been sent out to 'play' whilst Dad was watching the Millwall & Crystal Palace football match playing on TV last night. Although this little lad seems quite good at riding his new bike in terms of balance, agility and skill, the bike is way too big for him and yep at his age, he does not yet understand what side of the road is what /rules/speed and distance judgement etc. Yes, Cathan, regarding riding a bike without lights that is a good angle, I shall go and find out if there is a community safety person for our area. If this continues and I reckon it is new behaviour that comes from having a new birthday bike, I'm sure I won't be the only person in our neighbourhood to have noticed this or that will notice if he continues to cycle unsupervised and unprotected.

badguider Wed 01-May-13 17:49:04

On an estate with closes rather than 'streets' as such I wouldn't be expecting a child on a bike to be obeying the highway code but rather playing on the road and if a car appeared at the end of the road getting off the bike and road and standing on the pavement till the car had passed.
Helmets I would always advocate but they're not compulsory.
And high-vis clothing again I'd say is good for use in traffic but for playing out I wouldn't be too worried during daylight hours (assuming that it's light to about 8:30? it is here but we're in scotland and it's light later here).

So basically I would say that whether it's 'ok' or not depends on what the little boy has been instructed/trained to do if a car appears at the end of the main road along the estate.

KBabs Thu 02-May-13 15:31:31

Thanks for the estate context specific advice, that is really helpful. yep where we are at 8.30pm at the moment it is getting dark but still a bit earlier than streetlight time at the moment compared with Scotland! I'll monitor the situation and see how it goes...

Fuzzymum1 Thu 02-May-13 20:08:00

I have a recently turned 6yo boy. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac with zero passing traffic. He is allowed to play outside on his bike but only in the area I can see from our front window. I am considered over-protective though by some of the other mums in our road. He is a very sensible six year old but he is just a six year old and even the most sensible child can do really silly things sometimes like peeing in the bin at school even when they know they shouldn't. He is also the only child in our road who wears a helmet.There are several children younger than him who have been allowed to roam much further than him for several years - a neighbour said one at the age of three had come into her garden to play with her daughter and was there for close to an hour before anyone came looking for him.

KBabs Tue 07-May-13 15:29:49

I have an update. Yesterday, I saw this little lad again on his bike, I was coming into the estate entrance at around 6.30pm he was leaving the estate so I called his name but he cycled off towards the main road before I could catch up with him. Again no helmet. So I took decisive action and knocked on the door of his dads house (upstairs watching tv or doing some work on the laptop) and sent him off in the direction. His dad said that he had told his son not to leave the central estate area and looked concerned, grabbed his shoes and went out looking for him. At this point the lad had come back onto the estate, I did also take the opportunity to kindly mention that it would be good to get him a cycle helmet. So dad then confiscates his son's bike for the evening in front of me for going outside what was the agreed area, said he would buy him a helmet etc etc, thanked me for alerting him to him going outside what they had agreed. So I managed to get my point across hopefully in a constructive and caring way. Mind you, at 8.30pm guess what my partner comes back home on his bike (wearing his helmet and he's 45 bless!) sees the little boy who is now says to him he is now wearing a helmet but complaining it is too small for him/not comfortable and again out and about on his bike! Dad again indoors watching TV. Ho hum...
Hopefully he will get a new and bigger helmet soon

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