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Cycling to school

(18 Posts)
Fanjolena Mon 05-Sep-16 17:21:04

Wonder if anyone else lets their child cycle to school? DS1 is 12 and going in to YR8 tomorrow and has just mentioned he'd like to start cycling to school soon. I think it's a great idea but I'm worried about him cycling in the road, are children under 18 expected to cycle in the road? He goes up and down outside the house or round the block on the pavement usually when out to play. Is it ok for him to cycle on the pavement to school? Obviously being careful of and giving way to people on foot as needed. The journey would probably take 20-30 mins.

bigTillyMint Mon 05-Sep-16 17:26:53

DS has cycled to school since the end of Y7. We live in London, but the route he goes is reasonably quiet. We always cycled with them when they were young, so he was alrrady confident cycling on the road and he also did a cycling proficiency course in Y5.

Our borough runs free cycling courses - is there anything like that available where you live? I personally think children should learn to cycle on the road by the time they have finished primary, but I wouldn't just let them do it without proper preparation and practical experience.

KayJBee Mon 05-Sep-16 17:27:53

Sorry, but no a 12 yr old should not be cycling on the pavement. A 6 yr old while the parent walks behind fair enough but if he's going to be cycling faster than walking pace (which a 12 yr old will unless there are any sn that you haven't mentioned) then he shouldn't be on the pavement.

Has he done his cycling proficiency or whatever the modern equivalent is? If not, get him enrolled on one. Maybe do a few practice cycles of the route with him pointing out potential hazards. See how he copes with you just cycling behind, if he proves he can do it safely then let him go.

yeOldeTrout Mon 05-Sep-16 17:28:09

Will piss people off if he goes on pavement.
I take it you have never cycled on the road together anywhere?
There might be scope for him to take a cycling proficiency class, they start out by checking the safety of the bike in every way.

yeOldeTrout Mon 05-Sep-16 17:29:04

The cycling proficiency people will insist he has a helmut, too.

OldBeanbagz Mon 05-Sep-16 17:31:28

Your DS will have to cycle on the road. The maximum fine for cycling on the pavement is £500 though normally it's a £30 fixed fine (taken from BikeHub website).

How busy is his journey and how long? Is he confident?

My DD used to cycle sometime but i went with her as she had a busy road/junction to cope with. She had to have the school's permission too.

Lancelottie Mon 05-Sep-16 17:33:44

I'm slightly bitter about the officious so-and-so who yelled at my (tallish) 6-year-old for cycling on the pavement, but a 12-year-old should definitely cycle on the road.

First he needs to convince you of his cycling ability, general common sense and road sense, and he needs that helmet superglued to his head, I'd say.

I make mine wear reflective gear. I have no illusions about how quickly they take it off the moment they get round the corner, but at least a corner of it might still be flapping behind them from a badly packed bag <hopeful>

yeOldeTrout Mon 05-Sep-16 17:34:23

I don't think the fines (FPNs) apply to under 16s, there may be no mechanism to fine an under 16.
But will piss people off, so time to learn to use the roads.
School Permission would not be required ime.

(Where I live people talk about cycling 25 miles on their own to the coast on the regular roads, at age of 8yo, only 20-30 yrs ago, is that really so far out of living memory everywhere else?).

Sadik Mon 05-Sep-16 17:55:01

Definitely not cycling on the pavement at that age. Whether he's safe to cycle to school or not only you know - it probably depends how much cycling he does with you.

At 12 I was happy for dd to cycle alone in the daylight, but not happy with her cycling at night. Now she's 14 and just that little bit more aware then I'm ok with her cycling in the dark (with proper lights and flouro clothing obviously!)

I'd be inclined if you want him to cycle to do the route with him a few times, making sure he's indicating properly etc.

Sadik Mon 05-Sep-16 17:56:53

Sorry, the point of that really was that as you come into winter, he'd most likely be travelling at least some of the time in the dark - so take that into account.
I'd encourage him though, and work out a way him to do it safely - IMO being able to cycle safely over longer distances is a good way for teens to gain both independence and some healthy exercise.

Sofabitch Mon 05-Sep-16 17:59:48

my Ds cycles to school, luckily its cycle path almost the whole way.

i'd recommend a cycling proficiency course though. they are fab.

Fanjolena Mon 05-Sep-16 18:36:47

Thanks for replies, I'll look in to cycling courses with my local borough. I didn't think about cycling in the dark winter months so that's a very good point. I don't cycle at all myself but DP can so I'll ask him if he can do a few routes with him. Thanks again.

AtiaoftheJulii Mon 05-Sep-16 19:58:02

My daughter cycled about 1.25 miles to school from y8, my son cycled about 1.75 miles from starting in y7. They took quieter routes where possible, but some of it is on a main road, and yes, they cycled in the road. They had both done level 2 Bikeability which was very thorough, and my son was already cycling a lot by 11.

If he doesn't cycle much, maybe take the next few months to discuss it, get used to cycling more in general, practice different routes to school, buy whatever kit you don't have yet, etc, and aim to get him going regularly to school in the spring as the weather improves?

My y9-tomorrow doesn't cycle to school as it's too far, but I'm really keen to get her cycling around town and being more independent!

AtiaoftheJulii Mon 05-Sep-16 19:59:42

Oh, and yes, both of mine had to fill in a form for school to say they were cycling to school, that their bikes were mechanically sound, and that they promised they would always wear a helmet.

Stickerrocks Mon 05-Sep-16 20:16:04

Most primary & secondary schools get a cycling contract signed. Our secondary school posts a teacher at the entrance to the bike park to check that the kids arrive and leave wearing a helmet, even though half of them seem to remove them as soon as they get onto the roads. There are usually quite a few cycling instructors listed online who can help build confidence for road cycling if you haven't had the chance to do the cycling proficiency courses.

teachersaspirations Mon 05-Sep-16 23:41:01

interestingly Chris Boardman (Olympic cyclist) & Sadik Khan (London Mayor) don't let their kids cycle on the road

AtiaoftheJulii Mon 05-Sep-16 23:55:53

And of course Chris Boardman's mum was just killed this summer, riding her bike on a road. So i don't suppose poor Chris is any keener to let his now 10 year old cycle on the road.

Yes, my kids have had near misses. But they are also very aware that the roads are not going to get any safer for cyclists if no one cycles! A horrible vicious circle.

Fanjolena Thu 08-Sep-16 06:24:03

I must admit it does really frighten me, all it would take is one person not to see him or one idiot driving dangerously or even DS not concentrating for a few seconds and tragedy could strike. I think my heart will be in my mouth for those first weeks that he starts to go alone.sad

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