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Do your kids ride bikes ?

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#1 Rachaelxxx

Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:48 AM

I know this probably sounds like a really silly question, but my husband and I were talking about this last night and I was saying if I had my time over, I would have purchased a house in a nice quiet court location, where the kids could ride their bikes and scooters around as much as they liked.

We live on a busy street, lovely suburb and great neighbours, but I'm not comfortable with the kids riding up and down the street with the amount of traffic around.  At times just the logistical nightmare of taking the 5 girls out bike riding as well is hard.  The older 3 can ride bikes (not confidently) and the younger 2 (5 and 6 year olds) are still on their training wheels.

I guess what I'm asking is, whilst my girls are active, I really haven't given them a lot of exposure on the roads / footpaths while riding bikes.  How much importance do you place on this and at what ages are you comfortable allowing your kids to "hit the streets on their own" so to speak.

My girls ages are 5, 6, 7, 9 and 11.

#2 2xpink

Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:54 AM

I can't help you but have been wondering the same thing.

My girls are 6 and nearly 9, and they only ride closely supervised on our quiet country town street (mainly because we do have the occasional hoon).  I often see younger kids riding to school, but do not yet feel comfortable letting mine do so.  No matter how much I nag them they seem to have no idea of looking out for traffic, crossing roads etc.

It would be nice to let them have their independence but I can't imagine doing this for another 18 months/2years.

#3 i-candi

Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:55 AM

We live on that ideal street that you talk of, semi rural double cul-de-sac, street full of kids. Our house has a huge amount of concrete driveways and paths - three car garage, two car carport plus massive shed area out back (we didn't put it in) so it's heaven for kids and their roller skates, skateboards and scooters.

DD 10 is always outside and wonders up and down the street looking for someone to play with, DS 13 doesn't like to go outside.

#4 No girls here

Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:56 AM

We're in the same position as you.  My kids are active but we don't do much bike riding.  We're in a busy street too and there is nowhere for them to ride bikes around on their own, and we often don't go to the effort of taking them anywhere.  

I'm not confident about them riding the streets on their own yet (two older ones are 8 and 6) but that's really to do with their lack of road sense.  They have been out with DH and a friend's father before.  The last time DS1 managed to run into a parked car and smash his two front (permanent) teeth so he's now a bit hesitant about bike riding now.

#5 kadoodle

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:18 AM

DD1 (10yo) is always out and about on her bike with girlfriends.  DD2 (4yo) is a confident rider with training wheels on the verge of coming off.  DS1 (8yo) refuses to ride.

#6 *LucyE*

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:23 AM

We live in a quiet court but I won't let my kids ride their bikes there. We have a Neighbour who is an 'erratic' driver as well as lots of rubber neckers who don't pay attention to the road. One of our newer neighbours allows their kids to kid around the cout unsupervised (aged 6yr, 9yrs, 10yrs).

I did a lot of bike riding when I was young but that was due to not having anything else to do. My kids are still active and they know how to ride. How much they ride isn't important.

#7 Maple Leaf

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:36 AM

We live on a dead end lane that has only 3 houses..so they go out and ride quite a lot there without any problems at all.

I don't let them go out onto the street though without us, they must stay in our lane. As cars can whip around quite quickly.

#8 SlinkyMalinki

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:36 AM

My 4 year old has had access to bikes, and given lots of encouragement, but she's just not that enthusiastic.  I think part of it is, we do have to take them somewhere to have a decent ride, there's no footpaths here to practise on, and we live between two busy roads.

My favourite thing from about 4 to 16 was riding my bike, I'm a little disappointed she's not interested TBH.  I'm still hoping she'll come around, for Christmas we all got new bikes, in hopes of going out riding as a family.

I also grew up in a heavy traffic area, but begged my parents to take me to the park all the time, and as soon as I was old enough, spent a few afternoons a week, and most of the weekend off riding with friends.

#9 feralisles

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:42 AM

I have been riding my now 10 year old to school regularly for several years and she still doesn't have the road sense for me to allow her to do it alone.  There is only one intersection she has to cross but she doesn't always remember to check for turning traffic or cars behind her before she pulls out to cross.  

Even when she is doing the right thing, some drivers don't.  It is not unusual for drivers to turn left, cutting off cyclists who are riding on the edge of the road, or fling open doors without looking.  

I don't think I would be allowing kids on roads unsupervised until they reach high school age, and even then only if they had lots of experience riding with adults who can explain road rules and safety issues.

#10 Wahwah

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:44 AM

We live in the inner city, near busy roads, tram lines, trains etc. I wouldn't let my kids ride alone until they are 12-14.

Having said that, we ride a lot. I ride with them to school a couple of days a week, and on the weekends we often ride as a family about 6km to our favourite park (and it will be more as the little one builds stamina).

The kids are 5 and 7, and both got bikes at 4 and were off training wheels after only a month. Having had balance bikes before this helped with not needing training wheels for long.

7yo is so fast now that sometimes I struggle to keep up with him on the bike tracks.

Edited by Wahwah, 11 January 2013 - 09:48 AM.

#11 Just a marshmallow

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:52 AM

We live on a semi-main road which takes a bit of traffic.  My DDs (7 & 9) are keen riders.  We are on a corner block which runs into a cul-de-sac and the girls are allowed to ride outside our house and around that corner.

Some of my favourite memories as a kid are of riding my bike around the block (over and over, the same block...sometimes we would change directions but only the one block...) and I want my kids to have the same experiences.

We are moving in a couple of weeks to a less busy street with BETTER footpaths so I hope they will be outside even more.

DH takes them for a ride every night and they have been riding to school once a week (with me trailng them in the car) so they are quite street smart.

Once we have moved I will allow DD1 to rise to her friend's house which will be 5 mins away.

#12 SeaPrincess

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:13 AM

My children are 3, 5 and 7 and they ride or scoot to school.  Only the 3yo still has training wheels. I go with them - I have resisted getting a bike for myself so far, but often I am running to keep up! We have footpaths all the way, and the children stop at every road and get off their bikes to wait for me. We walked it for 2 weeks and talked about where they need to stop before I let them try anything else.

DH rides to work 3-4 days/week and he will take DS1 for long rides on weekends.  DS2 needs a new bike and is keen to start going with them.

#13 Domestic Goddess

Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:03 AM

I live in an area of town with a LOT of hoons and some of my neigbours call them "ferals". Not a very nice way of naming people, but whatever floats their boat. I just call them hoons as they drive like maniacs and are always screaming and swearing and throwing stuff over the road and having the cops visit them every other day :\ Time to sell up and leave me thinks.

Anyhoo we live in on a property with 8 villa's and have a common driveway. It's enough for DS to ride around on and play with the neighbours kids. Yet he knows not to cross the last line before getting to the footpath.
If we are still living here in 10 years time, I MIGHT let him start riding on the street by himself when he's 12 and more responsible.

In the meantime, when he's got a lot of energy to burn, I put his bike in the boot of my car and take him to the new Velodrome just down the road. He can ride his little heart out there without having to worry about other traffic.

In the Netherlands, bike riding is immensely popular. BUT they also have more highway than Australia and also the same amount of cars while the country is 300 times smaller.
This is why in the 6th grade, the kids get a few practical lessons in basic road rules, like indicating with your hand when your turning into a street, giving way at railroad crossings, etc.
At the end they have to sit a theoretical exam and get a certificate when they pass. Ofcourse they can still ride their bikes if they fail, but it's still a fun and easy way of getting kids to be more aware of the traffic around them when on their bicycles.

#14 (feral)epg

Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:09 AM

If you DON'T let your kids ride bikes on the road - then will their first experience of dealing with traffic be when they are learning to drive?

#15 Rock of Empathy

Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:10 AM

My two older boys (10 & 7) ride to & from school twice a week and are often on their bikes riding around the neighbourhood to visit mates who live close by or to go to the park etc.

We live in a cul-de-sac and our neighbourhood is relatively quiet.

#16 Nofliesonme

Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:11 AM

My 6.5 yr old rides up and down our culdesac regularly and 4yo DD has no training wheels and prefers  to ride around our back yard and do jumps. DS 22 months rides around yard with trainers on. Wishing he could do what the girls do.

#17 Paintbrush

Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:49 AM

My two 6 year olds ride to school everyday and have done since they started Pre-Primary, sometimes they scoot but mostly they ride.
My 4 year old can ride but I've been a bit slack and had him on the back of my bike so we get to school faster.
He'll start riding to school next month when he starts and I'll walk with him until he's quick and confident then we'll all ride.
We also ride to friends houses, the park and families houses, if we can ride instead of drive we do it.

#18 Rachaelxxx

Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:04 PM

Thanks guys, I guess I just wondered if you feel it's detrimental to them that I haven't invested the time to spend on the roads with them on bikes.

#19 feralisles

Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:15 PM

Rachael if you are going to let them ride you must invest the time in making sure they are safe.  Riding with them imo is the only way to do this.  Ride often, in different locations, and talk to them about safety as you go.  As they get more confident, ride behind them and watch what they do.  You'll soon see whether they are ready to go alone or not.
If you can't do that, better not to let them ride at all.  The consequences of getting it wrong are too awful.

#20 sophiasmum

Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:21 PM

DH sometimes takes them for bike rides, but it's along the bike/walk path next to the river in our local suburb. Never on the road.

#21 deejie

Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:30 PM

Some of my happiest memories of my childhood are being allowed to roam around town on my bike. Wasn't much else to do where I was growing up! I'm still a very keen rider. I used to ride to work and do bike trips through the countryside. I would love to instill in my children a love of cycling.

DS1 is 3.5 and rides around on his bike with training wheels. He rides everywhere and can do a 2.5-3km round trip if it is broken up in the middle with a playdate/shops etc. He puts his brakes on at the road sides and we practice crossing safely. I'm not sure when I will be comfortable with him riding by himself out of sight-- certainly not for quite a few years yet as we live in the inner south of Melbourne.

We have the advantage of living on the edge of a public grass patch and I can sit outside and watch him do lap after lap after lap of the grass without crossing driveways or roads.

Riding is healthy and it is great exercise. Children are never too young to start. Your older daughters might not be very confident now, but maybe it is just through lack of practice? It will just take a little time and investment on your behalf to ride with them. They might surprise you just how quickly they learn. Better to get them used to traffic now under your supervision rather than older when they are on their own or driving a car! original.gif

#22 myhandfull

Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:38 PM

QUOTE (Rachaelxxx @ 11/01/2013, 01:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks guys, I guess I just wondered if you feel it's detrimental to them that I haven't invested the time to spend on the roads with them on bikes.

One way or another IF your children want to ride bikes, they will ask.  I personally don't think it's detrimental at all. I know how hard it can be riding with 5 small children.  We all have bikes,  loads of them in all different size.  My kids love them. We sometimes just block the end of the driveway with our cars so they don't go on the road, sitting outside watching them.  Scooters ss well. Very relaxing actually. We are lucky to live in a coastal community,  so lots of cycle paths. We sometimes throw 6 bikes (ds rides with me) in the trailer and find a good place to ride safely together.  That works best for us. Can highly recommend balance bikes as well. No training wheels required at all. Fantastic idea!

#23 Especially*K*

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:10 PM

I actually had this same conversation with my elderly neighbour last night as DS was riding his bike up our street. She said that her old neighbours bought a new house on a busy street and have regretted it as they realise the kids cant go and simply ride their bike.

DS has been riding a pushy since he was 2 and even though our street is quiet, i've never let him ride on the road unless its in the gutter area to go to the footpath at the end of the street with me.

Last night i let him ride anywhere he wanted in our street with me following him and he had a blast. I dont think I could move to a busy street.

#24 Chchgirl

Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:00 PM

Yes, they ride their bikes and scooters, we live in a suburban area of Sydney, quiet street, my girls are 11 and a half and nearly 15.

#25 ~Sorceress~

Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:09 PM

Mine have all ridden to school from about 5yo original.gif , but I am so glad that here in Canberra we have a fantastic bike path system so they only need to cross the road in front of our house between here and school! original.gif My children have ridden on footpaths and roads solo from age 10yo, but we've drilled them pretty hard on safety.

It's still scary - my DD came home one day saying "I've worked out how you know which way the cars are turning - you just watch their indicators" and I had to point out very vigorously that she could NOT trust the indicators - they were a guide, but not reliable! sad.gif

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