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4-year-olds cycling on pavements?

(30 Posts)
ScarlettCrossbones Mon 10-Aug-09 13:02:30

Does anyone happen to know the law/rules wrt children cycling on pavements? It's one of my pet hates, seeing adults or big kids whizzing along inches from you on the pavement when they should be on the road, but what would you think the cut-off age is?

DS (4) has just got his stabilisers off and I've been pretty anal about not letting him cycle on pavements (start as you mean to go on and all that grin) but that means there's, well, not many other places he can actually go! The only real alternative is hoiking his bike into the car and driving to the park, which kinda negates the healthy green aspect of cycling.

If you all think it's ok for kids up to a certain age to go on the pavement, I'll maybe reconsider ... wink.


bigchris Mon 10-Aug-09 13:06:38

i think a four yr old is fine on the pavement
you can just teach them to stop when they see someone coming

MissisBoot Mon 10-Aug-09 13:08:21

I'd say its fine for children up to the age of 10 to be on the pavement.

ScarlettCrossbones Mon 10-Aug-09 13:10:37

10, really? Do you not think 7, 8-year-olds can be reeeeally annoying swooshing past trying to impress their mates by being Evel Knievel ...?

starynight Mon 10-Aug-09 13:11:13

defo fine to cycle on pavement at 4. mines 5 and hes only aloud on the pavement on his bike to many idiots in cars round are way.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Mon 10-Aug-09 13:24:32

DS1 is nearly 7 and I really wouldn't want to let him loose on the roads around here.

I think adults and older children should be able to cycle on the road but children younger than 9 or 10 I think can go on the pavement.

I am really strict with DS1 though about him giving way to pedestrians and stopping if necessary to let them past.

I have cycled on the path myself recently which feels completely wrong, something I would never normally do, but I've had DS2 on a tag along bike behind me which swings outward when I turn corners so it just isn't safe on the road.

Goblinchild Mon 10-Aug-09 13:29:32

Cycling proficiency is a Y6 sort of thing to do, and that is supposed to make you safer on the roads. The majority of under tens find it difficult to judge the speed of traffic, it's a perceptual development thingy.
So, as long as said child stops at the right times and gets off around buggies and the elderly and vulnerable, I'd agree that under 10s on the pavement is fine.
As for Evil Knievals, an accidental shopping bag collision sorts them out I've found.

ScarlettCrossbones Mon 10-Aug-09 13:36:54

Oh, thanks for all that – I was worried I'd get tutted at by little old ladies for having him on the pavement! (well, maybe I still will ...)

ChildOfThe70s Mon 10-Aug-09 13:44:25

Personally, I wouldn't mind any Primary school age child or younger on the pavement, I do get v.annoyed at adults though - the DCs usually remark in loud voices "that man should be on the road!" because they have heard me say it so often!! I live in a really busy part of London though and I would rather see an adult on the pavement with their children than on the roads. It amazes me to see adults letting their kids cycle on the roads without helmets, or even giving them a ride on the crossbar!

Smithagain Mon 10-Aug-09 13:48:21

Fine for him to go on the pavement, IMO, provided you teach him from the very beginning to stop when a pedestrian is coming, not whizz miles ahead of you and check to see if cars are about to emerge from any driveways. And get off and push if it's very narrow or there are lots of pedestrians.

It's not ideal, but neither is the traffic in this country and getting on a bike is such a beneficial skill that I reckon some compromise on all sides is needed, so kids can learn to do it.

From a legal point of view, I believe it is illegal for anyone to cycle on the pavement. But under 10s are below the age of criminal responsibility and there is no such crime as "letting your child cycle on the pavement".

Guadalupe Mon 10-Aug-09 13:49:07

Some children at our school drive a motorised mini fire engine along the pavement. Honestly, you have to see it to believe it. grin

I think primary school children are absolutely fine cycling on the pavements.

wonderingwondering Mon 10-Aug-09 13:50:53

There is no way at all I would let a small child cycle on the road, they are below the eye level of most drivers.

Mine cycle on the path, as do I, although we always stop if someone is walking near us, and so give them priority.

I won't let mine cycle on the road until they have nearly full-size cycles, they're just not visible enough until then.

ScarlettCrossbones Mon 10-Aug-09 13:55:00

Thanks, Smithagain, yes, I did think it was actually illegal, but in practice, if he's not going to get lifted and slammed in the clink I think I'll let him. wink

Guadalupe, I hate those motorised things! Get them to use their flipping legs, fgs!! grin

UniS Mon 10-Aug-09 14:30:50

I was going to keep ds on teh pavement till he is big enough for a 20 inch wheel bike. he currently is 3.5 and has a 14 inch. However a move to a village with no pavements has made me accelerate the tution. He now rides on a mix of pavement along side main roads, on the road in front of me ( on my bike) on quiet roads and bike paths. I have to ride my bike with him to keep up.

Meglet Mon 10-Aug-09 14:36:27

Yes to children on the pavements. There are too many bad drivers out there. TBH I don't mind even adult cyclists on the pavements as long as they use their bells and go slow, its the local drug dealer types who tear around on the pavements that annoy me.

norfolklass Mon 10-Aug-09 14:36:56

My DS is 4.6 and only cycles on the path or in a park...wouldn't dream of him being on a road until much much later. No matter how sensible a child is it only takes a motorist to lost concentration for a second and it could all go horribly wrong.

I know what you mean about children saying things...My DS's pet hate is people not wearing helmets. Ive drummed it into him so much that he must always wear his helmet that when he see's another child or adult not wearing one he announces very loudly that they should...which is of course very true but also very embarrassing lol!

piscesmoon Mon 10-Aug-09 14:42:04

I cycle on the pavement myself! I get off in anyone is walking but the road isn't safe and I don't trust car drivers.

oneopinionatedmother Mon 10-Aug-09 14:42:53

- there are so many road traffic accidents here I never want my kids off the pavement. crazy rule in my book - pavements are empty, roads are full - why not let cyclists use the pavement?

they are to be very considerate of pedestrians though.

ScarlettCrossbones Mon 10-Aug-09 14:56:42

Just to be clear – I didn't mean in my OP that I let him go on the road at 4 – far from it! There's a big residential car park behind our house and he goes in that during the day when everyone's away at work.

sarah293 Mon 10-Aug-09 15:03:55

Message withdrawn

UniS Mon 10-Aug-09 19:05:30

IMHO adults should not be cycling on pavement unless it is shared use path. I use my bike to get places faster than walking speed, therefore it belongs on the road and I have to behave as a road user.
Children on pavement is a grey area. again, MHO is they should be trained to ride on road as early as appropriate for that child. And if you live somewhere with no pavements... that is practically from the first day they ride a bike.

Flossytops Tue 22-Sep-09 15:21:46

I was aggressively lectured this morning by a fellow mum for letting my 6 yr old and 9 yr old cycle on pavements, even though I make sure they always give pedestrians a wide berth and slow down, cycling on grass verges around them if possible. I'm sorry, but I just don't trust my 6 yr olds balance and steadiness in particular... or the drivers on the road!

In turn I looked up what the law is on this, and was told by a cycle safety officer that technically they are allowed on the pavements under 12 years of age if the roads are unsafe, which IMO with the school traffic, they are. Technically any cyclist breaks the law regardless of age if they cycle on the pavement, but police discretion is allowed and the police won't prosecute anyone under 12.

I'm also going to be looking into cycling safely courses especially for my elder and at some point hope the law will favour cyclists more than it does now. In a green age, people should be cycling more, afterall... no? Hope that helps!

Bumblingbovine Tue 22-Sep-09 16:13:47

Well here we have just had the pavements widened on the road outside our house that the cycle path runs along the pavement so no problem with ds (4.8 and still using stabilisers) riding on the pavement. There is no way I would allow a child of primary school age to ride on some of the roads we have here and certainly not when we lived in London either - No way

I grew up in Central london and never learned to ride a bike as my parents couldn't really ride and didn't want me out on the bike as it was too dangerous even 30 years ago.

This means that I learnt to ride 10 years ago (in my 30's) but I had real problems practising when I lived in London as there was nowhere easily reachable that I could practise on and there was no way I was going on the road.

As I know "adults rider" are not allowed on pavements I just didn't practise and 10 years later I still can't ride a bike well enough to actually go anywhere.

There should be paths/pavements that new cyclists (whatever age they are) can practise on without having to brave the cars until they are proficient enough.

UniS Wed 23-Sep-09 23:08:32

AFAIK there is nothing in english law "allowing" cycling on a footpath at any age or with any size of wheel. Legally cycles are not allowed to be ridden on footpaths.

However a common rule of thumb has been that wheels of 20 inches or more should be on the road. And a child small enough to need sub 20 inch wheels is probably small enough to be tolerated on the footpath ( if you have a such a luxury where you ride).

MrsMerryHenry Wed 23-Sep-09 23:12:53

You'd put a 4 yo on the road??

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