Musings of a tired mummy…zzz…

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I have turned my son into a criminal

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The Highway Code for cyclists rule 64 clearly states ‘You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement’ (use of capitals is theirs not mine!).

Today we were almost knocked into by 3 teenagers on their way to school. They were riding their bikes on the pavement. I understand. I really do. I wouldn’t want my children cycling on busy roads but I still don’t think it is acceptable.

Which brings me onto making my son a criminal. This weekend we have been teaching him to ride his bike, mostly in our garden. However, I did then take Matthew down the wide alley next to our house so he could try it out. He was on the pavement. I confess I made him break the law 🙁 The law doesn’t allow little ones special privilege, the law stands for everyone irrespective of age.
I don’t think the law doesn’t apply to us. I would argue that my son is not safe to ride on the road as he is 6, is only just learning, has little road sense, still needs stabilisers, frequently wobbles and falls. He would be a danger to traffic as well as himself. We only encountered one person and I made Matthew stop to one side and wait until the person had passed. I was in control and exercising parental responsibility the entire time.
The problem I have is what to do next. As he becomes a competent rider I will expect him to ride on the road. I cannot ride a bike (it isn’t true that you never forget!) and won’t be able to ride in front of him as I see other parents do to teach essential skills. Chris doesn’t own a bike. The good news is we live in a cul de sac so he will be able to cycle round there to gain confidence and experience.
What do you think? Do you let your children cycle on the pavement? Will you ensure they ride on the road at a certain age? Am I unreasonable to be frustrated by teens and adults cycling on the pavement?

 

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75 comments

  1. It’s difficult isn’t it, my son learned to ride a bike without stablisers last week, he’s 8, there’s no way that I’d let him ride on the road. Fortunately the roads around where we live are quiet so it’s not been a problem too far, and like you I’m right next to him. I think I was riding on the road at his age though, I certainly was confident riding on the road when I did my cycling proficiency test at school in year 6. I do get frustrated by adults on the pavement, but younger teenagers I don’t mind as much as long as they are considerate, slow down and keep to the side etc.

  2. It’s an interesting one and a tough one too! I used to HATE cycling on the road as a child and would never do it now, but I can also understand how it is dangerous for pedestrians. I guess the best thing is to head to the areas that have the path split into two – one for walkers and one for cyclists.

  3. It’s so hard to know what to do isn’t it….there’s no way they can safely ride on the road but it’s also dangerous to other people for them to be on a pavement….stuck between a rock and hard place on this aren’t we?

  4. Jen

    I get frustrated with adults, and teens alike who blantently cycle on the path and expect you to move out of the way for them. I’m happy to make some room for them to pass, but I don’t want to be almost bowled over because they didn’t slow down. I have some understanding that roads are hideously dangerous for cycles (someone was killed in our town a year ago), so perhaps I should say it is fine to ride on pavements, but with the rule that pedestrians have right of way. I certainly wouldn’t expect to see a six year old on the road, so I am sure your son is fine to ride with courtesy.
    I was once stopped my police for riding on a paved area. It was the choice of going on a busy city roundabout, or going through a paved area. It was late at night, so I chose the paved option. Police spotted me, I got told off. Oh dear.

  5. I tend to try and stick to cycle paths, but that means that we end up having to pack the bikes in the car to get to them which can be a faff. We live in a quiet area so I let mine ride on the pavement, but if there happened to be a pedestrian they are told and taught to stop until they have passed. It may be breaking the law, but they’re little and I don’t trust them on the road!

  6. Haytham Bhalo

    Hi Laura, I remember being Mathew many years ago. You can’t deny him the joy of riding freely once he gets good at it. You could perhaps look for a stadium and go round the track. May be get a bike yourself and cycle with him. Either way, they are way safer on the pavements.

  7. I would be the same and wouldn’t let my child go on the road, especially since I live in London and the traffic is always jammed. I know it is breaking the law but safety comes first x

  8. I agree with everyone else, hes only tiny still so its a very scary prospect of him riding on the road. My son works in a busy town until late at night and i have often told him to ride the path home as no one will be out walking and its such country roads with no much lighting that anyone flying round in a car might clip him 🙁

  9. I think for young children, cycling on the path is the best way to keep them safe. When they get into their teens, and more proficient I would say cycling safely on the roads is better, for the safety of others.

  10. It’s such a conundrum. The last city I lived in had biker’s lanes and none allowed on sidewalks. The city I moved to, now, has no biker’s lanes and everyone is on the sidewalk. I think it simply comes down to being considerate to one another. Unfortunately, many laws take that out of our hands and force us to simply do what we’re told rather than even giving us the opportunity to be kind to one another and share the space.

  11. My kids are 12 and 10 and I would not let them ride a bike alone on the road as even though we live in a relatively safe neighbourhood and people restpect traffic rules. It is still worrying. And no, you are not alone in thinking teenagers and other cyclists ought to use the road. Pavements are not really for bikes. people have a right to expect to walk in peace without fear of being hit by a cyclist. Luckily in Paris and suburbs where I live there are special paths for cycles but not always. I prefer that the kids cycle in the bigger parks nearby anyway.

  12. I wouldn’t let my children ride on the road until they were in their mid – late teens. I think the roads are too busy and quite honestly you can’t always trust other road users. I don’t see many people putting up much of a fuss seeing a young child riding a bike on the pavement to be honest though.

  13. I don’t have kids and can’t cycle to save my life but I think it should be encouraged for kids to cycle on pavements as you said they would be more of a danger to oncoming traffic than on to pedestrians

  14. Lolita

    Riding on the pavement is definitely the best as this leaves the only safe option. Gone are the days when kids will be able to ride around carefree in the streets, as drivers are just not focused, are always in a hurry, and just about no matter where you are, it’s just not safe anymore. How sad!

  15. I wish we had pavements to cycle on, around us. Our lane is narrow, but we do have a large garden and a woodland track behind us, that my children cycle on. I really don’t see anyone objecting to a child cycling on a pavement, so long as they are considerate. #MMBC

  16. It will be a long time before my youngest will be going on the road, they are 8! However we do tend to take the bikes to places where they are off the roads.

  17. What a choice of title…riding on the pavement would seem like a safer option than the road …..but hey if it’s against the law he’ll have to ride wherever you think is safe around the house.

  18. Mercy

    I would prefer my child to ride on the pavement till he was old enough to tackle the roads. I don’t think you’re being unreasonable at all.

  19. I wouldn’t even consider allowing my kids to learn to cycle on the road, it wouldn’t even cross my mind so don’t beat yourself up about it, although I can see what you’re saying.

  20. It’s such a tricky one isn’t it. I think when they’re young & just learning to ride without stabilisers, it’s fair enough but I absolutely hate teens & adults do it, it’s so frustrating xx

  21. What the hell! I thought children could cycle on the pavement. We have just bought our toddler a bike and your telling me, she HAS to ride on the road! This is totally farfetched and something that I will not adhere too! Thank you for bringing this to my attention, as I too have and will continue to brake the law!

  22. Wow, I didn’t know it was against the law for kids to cycle on the paths. Adults, yes, but I thought little kids could trundle along where they liked (mine certainly did when we lived in the UK!). Another reason then that I am glad we live in Sweden – everywhere, literally everywhere, has designated cycle paths, so no need to turn my son into a criminal! hahahaha

  23. I think it needs to be more leniant. I understand teenagers and older kids using the road but it isn’t safe for younger children #ablogginggoodtime

  24. I can feel the anxiety rise as my ‘protective mum’ instincts kick in lol. I wouldn’t let my kids ride on a road, no chance. We are lucky to live in a really quiet village, so they can ride to their hearts content. I would certainly stick to the pavements with a little one in tow x

  25. With really small children, I can’t see the harm in them riding on the pavements as long as they are respectful of pedestrians. As they get older and better cyclists then they can move onto the road.

  26. Deb

    I really wish we had better cycle lanes. But more than that better outdoor space that is accessible and usable for little ones on their bikes.

  27. Children are not allowed to ride on the road until they have done their cycling proficiency course here so pavement riding is fine as long as they are sensible with pedestrians

  28. This really resonated with me as my son is nearly 14 and I’m terrified of him riding on the roads, absolutely terrified. So, as a result, he doesn’t go out on his bike much. It’s such a shame as would love him to have some freedom on his bike. #CoolMumClub

  29. This is a great post for me as I live in Holland and everyone cycles. The tiniest kids will be cycling with their parents or on the back of their parents likes. But there are cycle paths everywhere! The roads are designed for bikes and bikers. British roads are not! I would be the same as you, terrified. I still worry when my kids are on the cycle paths. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

  30. MMT

    Hmmm. I can definitely see both sides here. I went mental at a kid who nearly knocked my 5 year old off the pavement a few weeks back…BUT having seen my husband be flattened on his bike by a Transit van, my girls will not be allowed to cycle in the road until they are…erm….EVER!
    It’s a tough one but I think the police would let you off for now – he’s safe! 😉
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

  31. I didn’t even know this was a law?! Everyone round here cycles on the pavement and when I take Oscar out on his trike I push him along there too. There’s no way I would allow him on the road. I mean, what if a car hit him?! I’m really concerned now as I don’t know what I should be doing for the best {‘;’} #ablogginggoodtime

    Louise x

  32. I didn’t realise it was illegal for children to ride on pavements. I think it will be very difficult to suggest little ones ride on the bike. Mine are always riding and stopping to look at something or just because they want to talk to you. And what about when they need to turn right, do they cross traffic?!
    Mine do ride on pavements but not in busy places. Our general rule of thumb is a scooter if you’re in town and bikes if we’re heading for a casual ride. But at 5 years old on any will remain on the pavement for a little while!+

  33. It’s a tricky one isn’t it? I have to confess I’m a little annoyed when people cycle on pavements. But as you say, with children perhaps it’s a different story. It sounds like you’re doing things responsibly though, always supervising, and one day they’ll be confident enough to ride safely on the road – who knows maybe you’ll dust of the bike too!

  34. It’s a difficult decision. My girls are starting to talk about not using stabilisers, but they’re only five so we’ll need to do lots of practising in the garden. My husband and I often let the girls go on their bikes to the local park with us and I’ve always let them ride on the pavement. I would never let them go on the road at 5, and to be honest I hadn’t even considered it until I read your post. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

  35. Oh gosh, there’s no way I will be letting my son cycle on the road until he’s about 10. I think this was about the age I started too – once I’d passed my cycling proficiency test in school. The road just isn’t a safe place for an unconfident cyclist, and I think most people are sympathetic to children riding on the pavement. Mind you, I had my first ever ‘protective mum’ moment over a teenage cyclist when my son was a few weeks old – we were coming out of a tunnel near us, where the exit view is blocked, and nearly run down by a boy racing through on his bike. Not only is it a pavement, but it clearly states that cyclists must dismount – I remember shouting something along the lines of “That’s why you’re not supposed to ride your bike here!” as he sheepishly apologised… Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  36. This is a tough one! I think for a young child the pavement is probably the best option. I guess it comes down to teaching them to respect the fact that people walking have a right of way and to stop and let them pass.
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂
    Debbie

  37. I have to admit I wouldn’t let my children ride on the road so I guess they are crinmals age five fab post Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

  38. Interesting point I’d not really given much thought to… I’d definitely prefer my child on the pavement until they are competent and safety conscious (they teach cycling road safety in schools at about 10years old so I’d use that as a guide) #sharingthebloglove

  39. This is so difficult. I wouldn’t want mine to ride on the road either, but it’s also frustrating when bikes bombard you on the causeway! Such a grey area! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

  40. Amy

    I haven’t attempted roads with the kids yet (they are 5 and 8), we put the bikes in the car and take them to the park. When we get to road cycling I will probably teach them straight onto the road not the pavement, probably lol #kcacols

  41. Round where we live everyone seems to cycle on footpaths although there’s a massive cycle network in Northamptonshire too. I’m planning to get back on a bike this summer and we’re getting a seat for Pops so we can all go out for bike rides as Ella can now cycle well too, but we’ll be sticking to the paths for safety! Sod the highway code!! The difference being we’ll move out the way of pedestrians unlike most other cyclists!! Thanks for linking for #marvmondays x

  42. I thought kids could ride on tbe pavement til aged 11… I had no idea. There is no way my 7 year old is riding on the roads locally to us, it’s not safe at all! I’m happy to be a criminal!

  43. It is tricky, at that young age their safety should be paramount, but teenagers doing it really bug me, particularly when they suddenly swoop past from behind and scare the life out of you!! (And I can’t ride a bike either so you’re not the only one! )

  44. We have designated bicycle lanes so you are not on the sidewalk and you’re also not in the car lane. It’s amazing! I think I would be terrified to let a child in the car lane. #GlobalBlogging

  45. This seems perfectly acceptable to me! We’re not quite at the bike riding stage but I would definitely take the kids on the pavement, whilst also teaching them to be polite and allow people to pass safely. #MarvMondays

  46. I think the law on bike riding is a bit silly… Overall, I see the reasoning for it and I know it is there for safety, but I think there should be another aspect to the law when it comes to children. I remember growing up that we rode bikes on the pavement, and I’m sure if we weren’t able to we probably wouldn’t have learnt to ride bikes as we grew up in a busy city. It’s a tough one parenting wise…

    Also, I’m glad someone else agrees with me regarding the saying ‘you never forget to ride a bike’, because I most definitely have! #MarvMondays

  47. Finn

    This is really hard. I absolutely hate adults riding on the pavement and have been known to stand and block them at times, particularly when I was walking with my own young children who I dreaded getting hit. But I totally get youngre childfren riding on the pavement. As with so much, common sense is the key!

    #KCACOLS

  48. This one is tough! I’d say to keep him as safe as possible keep him in your cul de sac. I cannot stand adult cyclists on the road because they make me so nervous!!!1 If he needs experience on pavement maybe there’s a park with a sidewalk??? #globalblogging

  49. This is definitely a tough one! My children (4 and 3) most definitely ride on the pavement because we live in a city and the roads can be rammed and dangerous-definitely no place for little ones with stabilisers! I’ve seen teens doing it on their way to school too, but don’t really blame them because at the time of day, the roads just seem impossible for cyclists. But then there is the issue of lots of pedestrians being around at that time too. As long as everyone is being cautious, I don’t mind the law breaking too much!!
    #bigpinklink

  50. Really that’s the law? Well my girls will not being going on the road until they have passed their cycle proficiency test and are teenagers. I think that anybody would be more than happy with young children on the pavement. What a ridiculous law! Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  51. I consider myself so lucky that both big girls just got on their bikes and rode within a few tries. Honestly it was the easiest thing we have done with the kids. No the twins very well may be a different story…

    #globalblogging

  52. This is something I haven’t really thought about before. I remember when I was little my mum would let me ride around the block. I always used to ride on the path but I was careful enough to not ride to close to people. I think we have to use a little common sense when it comes to children riding bikes, surely they could do more harm on the road? #MarvMondays

  53. Pingback: Sharing the Blog Love - Showcase 45 - Hot Pink Wellingtons

  54. I have written a post about cyclists previously but I have to agree with you, I think that kids should be able to ride on a pavement until a certain age when they should take their cycling proficiency test – and that should be the law! #SharingtheBlogLove

  55. This is really tricky. I do agree that children should be allowed to ride on the pavement – I think it is too risky for them on the road when they are small. But I also agree with some comments that pedestrians should have right of way. All too often cyclists (not small kids) will plough down pedestrians.

    It’s really tricky and cyclists don’t get treated very well wherever they go 🙁

    I would do what feels right whilst your son is small. Ultimately his safety is the most important thing. #SharingTheBlogLove

  56. I will always let my daughters ride on the pavement whilst they are young for the same reasons you do. I will also exercise strict parental control over the situation. Common sense dictates that would be dangerous to all other road users and your child but I also know what the law states. As for adults and teens I am in two camps. They should be on the road…. With the exception of where I live which is filled with wide paths that include cycle paths. Then they should be on the cycle paths… which 90% of the time they are not! They are on the road which is busy and full of blind corners and fast traffic. It drives me insane. The council have even put in shortcuts for cyclists on all the mini roundabouts, thus taking them out of harms way… but no 90% of the time they use the roundabout for no reason, albeit properly. Sorry for the rant! Can you tell they annoy me? 😉 #SharingtheBlogLove

  57. We have separate cycle paths in Australia, so I guess that answers the question for me. But, if I were you, yes, I’d let my son ride on the pavement too 🙂 Thanks for linking to #GlobalBlogging

  58. I have to admit I’m a pavement cycler by preference. Although I rarely cycle these days. If the whole country had one big cycle path then I would use it. But I’m terrified of sharing the road with the monsters that cars have become these days. I can’t believe it’s still law. I won’t be letting George cycle in the road until he’s at least 18 lol. I’m also terrified that he seems to love motorbikes. I didn’t want him knowing they existed. Lol

    #KCACOLS

  59. It’s so dangerous to ride on the road in a city and this main coast road here is a nightmare. And this is no worse than anything my dad and I did. lol. #kcacols

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