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Riding on the Road with Kids – How old is old enough?

boy riding a bike

Riding on the Road with Kids – How old is old enough?

Recently a customer and friend of the Little Bike Company shared an interesting experience with us about a bike ride with her kids.  It really got us thinking and wondering about how old your kids were when they were first cycling alongside you on the road?

Or if they are yet to cycle independently what age do you think you will start to cycle with them?

Did you take up cycling in order to cycle with your kids, do you needed training or does knowing how to drive make you a safe cyclist?

We’d love to hear from you about this subject over on our Facebook page.

“Cycling needs to be encouraged – it’s green, healthy and fun and it helps children to become independent. However, in 2010, 168 cyclists aged 0-11 were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads, so it’s vital that 7-11 year olds learn how to stay safe on a bike.”   – source

Statistics like this are very scary for any parent.  It can be particularly daunting for a parent who has little experience of cycling on the road. Here is the story we received from our customer – we’d love to hear your thoughts on her experience.

bikeability

Image via CyclingScotland

“Mum, it is against the LAW!!!” 

Recently I took my daughter aged 10 and my son aged 6 out on a ride on the bike.  Taking the kids on a bike ride is not unusual, we go out quite a bit, however this time I decided to borrow my neighbours bike and ride along with them.

There’s a lovely cycle path which takes just a few minutes riding along the main road to get to.  We always let the kids ride the bikes along the pavement, they’re kids so it’s fine – right?!

My daughter had very recently taken her year 5 bike ability course which is what had spurred us on to go on a ride that afternoon.  It was not until after we set out and she launched out into the main road did I realise she had learned it is ‘illegal’ to ride on the pavement.

Within minutes I was totally panic stricken, not because of my sensible and confident 10 year old cycling on a main road (she has had training) but because my six year old was following her, with equal confidence – I was immediately screaming at my daughter to pullover and my son to stop, stop, stop!

I wasn’t sure what to do – It didn’t feel right having my son riding on the main road? So we all rode the 5 minutes  to the cycle path ‘illegally’ on the pavement, to my daughters great chagrin! “Mum, it is against the LAW!!!”

My son is a confident bike rider now having learned just last year, but I have yet to teach him the skills he needs to ride on the road – so should we all push our bikes until we reach a safe cycling area?  Would anyone really fine a young family for cycling 5 minutes on a pavement – is the difference that I was on a bike myself?

Do I trust his judgement even if I am cycling alongside him on the road, what if he gets distracted and veers out?

Should he ride in front or behind me, or should I ride on his outside to protect him from traffic?

Is six old enough to be cycling along a main road? Is there a legal age?

How many kids can you cycle with – do we need one adult per child?

I realised I knew nothing, and I hadn’t ridden on the roads since I was at University and it petrified me then! If we were to ever cycle as a family, I would have to get out and practise and build up my own confidence before I cycled with my kids.

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