School cycling instructors



P

Paul Boyd

Guest
Just curious - do schools that teach cycling to kids need to have an
experienced and qualified cyclist doing the teaching, or will any old
spare teacher do?

There is a reason for asking! I was delivering in the works van this
afternoon, and the premises were immediately after a sharp left hand
bend. I always take this bend slowly because I'm pulling into a
driveway and don't want to be rear ended, so I slow down following
traffic in advance! Anyway, also on outside of this bend were a group
of brightly-clad kids being "taught" how to turn right into a side road,
by starting from the inside of the bend! At one point I heard the
"teacher" shouting at a child that she shouldn't have pulled out because
of the speed that cars come around the bend. None of the children
looked confident on their bikes, and some were wearing full-face helmets
that seemed far too big for them that must have restricted their vision.

To me, this seemed a ludicrous place to teach nervous youngsters how to
do a right turn, especially as the instructor obviously knew that cars
take the bend far too fast.

--
Paul Boyd
http://www.paul-boyd.co.uk/
 
T

Tom Crispin

Guest
On Wed, 11 Jul 2007 17:32:48 +0100, Paul Boyd <[email protected]>
wrote:

>Just curious - do schools that teach cycling to kids need to have an
>experienced and qualified cyclist doing the teaching, or will any old
>spare teacher do?


If it's a cycling profiency course, anyone can instruct the children
after a half day training course. Bikeability training
(www.bikeability.org.uk) needs to be run by National Standard
instructors using an accredited Bikeability course.

From your description below it is not possible to tell if this was a
Bikeability course. Turning right from a major road into a minor road
is part of Level 2 Bikeability. The training should be carried out on
a quiet residential road.

As level 2 bikeability training progresses the children should be
taken on busier and busier residential roads so they are gradually
introduced to real traffic conditions.

>There is a reason for asking! I was delivering in the works van this
>afternoon, and the premises were immediately after a sharp left hand
>bend. I always take this bend slowly because I'm pulling into a
>driveway and don't want to be rear ended, so I slow down following
>traffic in advance! Anyway, also on outside of this bend were a group
>of brightly-clad kids being "taught" how to turn right into a side road,
>by starting from the inside of the bend! At one point I heard the
>"teacher" shouting at a child that she shouldn't have pulled out because
>of the speed that cars come around the bend. None of the children
>looked confident on their bikes, and some were wearing full-face helmets
>that seemed far too big for them that must have restricted their vision.
>
>To me, this seemed a ludicrous place to teach nervous youngsters how to
>do a right turn, especially as the instructor obviously knew that cars
>take the bend far too fast.
 
J

John B

Guest
Tom Crispin wrote:
> On Wed, 11 Jul 2007 17:32:48 +0100, Paul Boyd <[email protected]>
> wrote:
>
>> Just curious - do schools that teach cycling to kids need to have an
>> experienced and qualified cyclist doing the teaching, or will any old
>> spare teacher do?

>
> If it's a cycling profiency course, anyone can instruct the children
> after a half day training course.


Or less.
It varies throughout the country. In my County it is possible to deliver
the LA scheme after a two-and-a-half-hour 'training course'. This is
held one evening in a meeting room, and mainly consists of how to fill
in the paperwork. 'Instructors' are not allowed to ride with the
trainees nor make any bike adjustments. I understand there is one who
cannot even ride a bike.
Instructors have been known to tell children to get off the road because
there's a car coming.

Bikeability training
> (www.bikeability.org.uk) needs to be run by National Standard
> instructors using an accredited Bikeability course.


Notwithstanding my comment above, many schools are now dropping the LA
scheme and taking up the National Standard training, but it is a tough
struggle and usually results from there being a 'champion' for the
training within the school or from parent groups.

>> of the speed that cars come around the bend. None of the children
>> looked confident on their bikes, and some were wearing full-face helmets
>> that seemed far too big for them that must have restricted their vision.


Such helmets should be banned. But hey, wearing one makes you invincible ;-)

>> To me, this seemed a ludicrous place to teach nervous youngsters how to
>> do a right turn, especially as the instructor obviously knew that cars
>> take the bend far too fast.


Training in the real world?

John B
 
P

Paul Boyd

Guest
On 11/07/2007 18:26, Tom Crispin said,

> If it's a cycling profiency course, anyone can instruct the children
> after a half day training course. Bikeability training
> (www.bikeability.org.uk) needs to be run by National Standard
> instructors using an accredited Bikeability course.


I don't know what type of course these children were on, but I didn't
know that someone can teach children in cycling proficiency after just a
few hours training - scary!

If it wasn't for the fact that they were stationed immediately after a
blind bend (where there are always cars flying through fences), the road
would have been ideal. This road has speed pillows, but most drivers
use them as chicanes, and many drivers really do fly around this bend in
the middle of the road to avoid the worst effect of the bumps. A
cyclist looking over their shoulder to turn right may well have seen it
to be clear for as far as they could see, but by the time they're in the
correct position for turning right a car could have suddenly appeared
behind them. Experienced cyclists take all this in their stride, but it
looked like these kids were being chucked in at the deep end!

> As level 2 bikeability training progresses the children should be
> taken on busier and busier residential roads so they are gradually
> introduced to real traffic conditions.


From the wobbly nature of the children I saw, they didn't appear to be
ready for real traffic. Having said that, it might have been real
traffic that made them appear more nervous, and the instructor shouting
wouldn't have helped.

--
Paul Boyd
http://www.paul-boyd.co.uk/
 
T

Tom Crispin

Guest
On Wed, 11 Jul 2007 21:08:03 +0100, Paul Boyd <[email protected]>
wrote:

>> As level 2 bikeability training progresses the children should be
>> taken on busier and busier residential roads so they are gradually
>> introduced to real traffic conditions.

>
> From the wobbly nature of the children I saw, they didn't appear to be
>ready for real traffic. Having said that, it might have been real
>traffic that made them appear more nervous, and the instructor shouting
>wouldn't have helped.


It's always difficult to judge from a distance.

For the first on-road session I take children from my school on a dead
end street just off the heart of a busy shopping area. The road is
bumper to bumper with parked cars. I want pupils to start an on road
journey where they can see and be seen and be able to position
themselves on the road a car door's width from parked cars, and to
ride to the left.

I then take them to a quiet residential road with cars parked both
sides and which has a side road. I want pupils to look into the side
road to make sure that any traffic has seen them and to maintain
primary position past the road so it is clear that they will not be
turning into it.

On the second on-road lesson I take them to a busier and wider
residential road for turning right into a minor road and left onto a
major road - with 2 u-turns involved.

Then to an even busier residential road for turning right onto a major
road and left into a minor road - with 2 u-turns involved.

If I happen to have 2 adults with me, another instructor and a parent
volunteer, for example, I can arrange a left - left - left loop, then
a right - right - right loop.

Sometimes children can be nervous, but this soon wears off when they
become used to the drill.

Once children can start a journey correctly, position themselves on
the road correctly, pass side roads safely and assertively, signal
their intentions clearly to other road users and be aware of the
traffic around them, they are ready to make trips independently.

But to fully assess their competence and confidence I take them on a
15 mile Thames Circuit using a variety of roads and cycle facilities.
This is the third on-road session and lasts about 3.5 hours
 
C

Colin McKenzie

Guest
Paul Boyd wrote:
> None of the children
> looked confident on their bikes, and some were wearing full-face helmets
> that seemed far too big for them that must have restricted their vision.


Had a trainee with a full-face helmet today. Somewhat to my surprise,
he was able to prove that he could look behind properly, albeit by
turning his head further than usual.

His voice was muffled and I'm not sure how much he could hear. On
balance, I don't think I can justify banning them on training courses,
if they fit, despite these problems.

Colin McKenzie

--
No-one has ever proved that cycle helmets make cycling any safer at
the population level, and anyway cycling is about as safe per mile as
walking.
Make an informed choice - visit www.cyclehelmets.org.