teaching 9yo to ride bike on street - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 08-15-2014, 12:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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teaching 9yo to ride bike on street

Ds is interested in riding his bike more, which is great. Dh and I have different thoughts about how he should learn. I think when learning ds should stop at every intersection to wait for an adult, and go slow enough that he can ride close to the cars on the right side of the road. Dh thinks it is not necessary for ds to stop at every corner, and it is okay for ds to be riding in the middle of the street as long as dh is watching and it is not a busy street. I see people go too fast on not-busy streets often enough that this terrifies me.

Dh is the much more experienced cyclist of the 2 of us, and I think it's unfortunate that I can't just delegate this to him, but it just doesn't seem safe to me, which really isn't okay. I'm worried I've lost perspective, and would appreciate any thoughts on this--or just some knowledge about how others have taught their kids to ride on the street.

One other maybe relevant fact is that ds is small for his age--maybe more the size of a typical 7 or 8 yo, which makes him that much harder to see.

treehugger.gifMama to DS (3/05 )carrot.gifh20homebirth.gif, wife to DH bikenew.gif, remembering rainbow1284.gifdog2.gifdog2.gif and angel1.gif Spirit 1/07, angel1.gif Hope 5/09, angel1.gif Harmony 6/10, angel1.gif Love 5/11, angel1.gif Joy 6/11
 


Last edited by WaturMama; 08-15-2014 at 06:43 PM. Reason: In my 40s and still getting my lefts and rights figured out!
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#2 of 7 Old 08-15-2014, 01:25 AM
 
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Posting to subscribe so I can come back tomorrow (hopefully) during nap time.
In the mean time - regarding visibility - you are more visible riding in the center of the lane than hugging the side. I ride in the center of the travel lane in particularly busy traffic areas of our small downtown. There is so much traffic and stop lights/signs that no one is going fast, and swerving into the lane to avoid hitting opening car doors is much more dangerous than riding in a strait line with traffic for a couple blocks.
Have you considered doing a bicycle street skills class geared towards families? I think all three of you could learn a lot!
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#3 of 7 Old 08-15-2014, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, OrmEmbar. I like that class idea. I wonder if it's offered in our area. I will look.

treehugger.gifMama to DS (3/05 )carrot.gifh20homebirth.gif, wife to DH bikenew.gif, remembering rainbow1284.gifdog2.gifdog2.gif and angel1.gif Spirit 1/07, angel1.gif Hope 5/09, angel1.gif Harmony 6/10, angel1.gif Love 5/11, angel1.gif Joy 6/11
 

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#4 of 7 Old 08-15-2014, 03:39 PM
 
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I see you are in California. Unless you have a peculiar state law, he shouldn't be on the left side of the road if he's on the side of the road. He should be to the right. Bikes are treated legally more as vehicles, not pedestrians.

If your neighborhood is as much like mine as it sounds, I'm on your side. My neighborhood is very quiet, but through-drivers sometimes are going pretty fast. When I'm alone, I try to stay on the right but enough toward center that an opening door won't hit me. When I'm chaperoning my kids, they stay to that line and I go more central to make us as visible as possible. We are definitely grounding them in "slow down and scan" at every intersection, and stopping at every stop sign. We've also been trying hard to make them think about driveways.

We have the luxury of living in a neighborhood with wide enough streets that this is easy for us. There's no compromise of risking a door vs. being in the center of the road. But I wouldn't let my kids be riding on the street if that were not the case. I don't think downtown riding decisions should have anything to do with teaching a beginner to scan every intersection and be wary for hidden driveways, etc. So although I agree that sometimes it makes sense to be in the center of a lane to announce yourself to traffic, I don't think that's the place to be teaching a kid. In the end, I want my kids to learn some behaviors they do on autopilot, then they can make more complex decisions when they are older.

A very sad thing is that around here, most people killed while riding their bikes seem to be the victims of drunk or otherwise impaired drivers.
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#5 of 7 Old 08-15-2014, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all those thoughts Letitia. Interesting and sad about the impaired drivers. I think that is probably the same for pedestrian deaths.

I meant the right side of the road, not the left. I am terrible with lefts and rights (though fine while driving and biking)! I will correct my original post.

treehugger.gifMama to DS (3/05 )carrot.gifh20homebirth.gif, wife to DH bikenew.gif, remembering rainbow1284.gifdog2.gifdog2.gif and angel1.gif Spirit 1/07, angel1.gif Hope 5/09, angel1.gif Harmony 6/10, angel1.gif Love 5/11, angel1.gif Joy 6/11
 

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#6 of 7 Old 08-15-2014, 09:54 PM
 
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WaturMama - I am too! It's not that I am confused about which direction I mean. I see things very clearly in my head. I just often get the words crossed.

What I wish is that we lived on a cul-de-sac, like friends, whose kids safely ride curleques every which-way.
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#7 of 7 Old 08-18-2014, 02:33 AM
 
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If you can find a local course I would go for it. DD has done a couple now through a local charity and they've really improved her confidence and mine in her abilities.

The staff came into school and took the children out in groups, first in the playground to make sure they had the ability to ride, stop, signal etc, then out onto local quiet roads to practice. They also spent some time indoors on theory, learning about road markings and so on.
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