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Cycling Proficiency

October 4, 2005

My daughter has just taken her Cycling Proficiency training and test at school. So I asked her what they taught. Some good some not so good. The usual insistence that a helmet will protect you from a 28 Ton lorry, but I’ll leave that, she knows better.

The two things I found most odd were:

  • They teach them how to do the “slowing down signal” (that is wave your right hand up and down). Now it is possible this is just a ruse to get riders used to riding with one hand so they gain confidence. However I have never used the signal on a bike and I have never seen any one use the signal on a bike. Also I can’t really see the point? When it would be most useful would be an emergency stop, but then you would have to have both hands on the handle bars.

  • They did not teach them about roundabouts. Now where I live you can’t go anywhere without going round a roundabout. Actually this may not be true it may just be possible to escape without hitting a roundabout but it would take a lot of planning and off the top of my head I can’t think of a way to travel 5 miles without hitting a roundabout or turning around. Anyway for any reasonable journey you have to know how to negotiate a roundabout, yet they did not teach that at all.

Tags: topic:[cycling] topic:[Cycling Proficiency]


From → Cycling

  1. Alan Braggins permalink

    I’ve used the slowing down signal (but with my left hand) to mean “I am going to stop here on these double yellow lines and then wheel my bike across the pavement to that bike rack” where motorists are otherwise unlikely to expect a vehicle to stop.
    (I’ve also used it in a car (with my right hand) to mean “my lights (including brake and indicators) and windscreen wipers have failed, I am stopping to find the right bit of the fusebox to hit again”.)

  2. skibike 247 permalink

    So – did you check with your daughter if they said that they had taught her everything she needed to know? If you check the back of her certificate it probably says that she has now been coached on the basics of safe cycling but still needs guidance and help (not to mention supervision). I am sure the instructors will have told them that there is sill a lot to learn. If roundabouts were to be included in the very basic course then the course would have to be extended and therefore the number of places in every year reduced. Some children might miss out on the basics while others learned more advanced skills.
    You’ll be glad to know that the importance of the slowing down signal is being diminished.

  3. I did check with my daughter what she had been taught and have just checked the back of the certificate, it is blank.
    Roundabouts are just so common and as I have seen hard for children to understand conceptually that teaching them would seem like a minimum.
    Don’t get me wrong, the course is a good thing. It has some misguided parts, like the helmet fixation and slowing down signal but it gets kids on bikes. The problem is so many children won’t get an adult to explain roundabouts to them and take them for a practice.
    For us it was a snip, hop on the triplet and ride around a few explaining what is going on. Then onto their own bikes under supervision.

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