Lessons Learned

Passing through Nearest Village this morning on my way to get the paper, I noticed that the older kids from the primary school were getting some on-road cycling training. Well, I say noticed, but I could hardly have missed it – not only were they wearing the obligatory hi-vis vests, but there were signs out at either end warning drivers, and no fewer than four adults standing out along the road (also in hi vis and, bizarrely, helmets – maybe the pedestrian helmet has taken off after all?).

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cycle training, and I think it’s great that the local schoolkids are getting it. I’m sure it’s fantastic and necessary training too – I actually know one of the instructors & he’s pretty good. And part of me knows that on the roads today (even if not, actually, the roads around us) you do need to be pretty alert and skillful to keep safe. But I do wonder what lesson it is that we’re actually teaching our children here. Don’t ride, unless you’ve got warning signs and four adults watching out for cars? Fan as I am of decent cycling infrastructure, even I don’t think that’s going to be sustainable on a daily basis. I like to think that as I passed them (as I do most days) bareheaded and un-yellow-jacketed, I was setting just a tiny bit of a bad example to the youth…

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13 Responses to Lessons Learned

  1. Kim says:

    Ah yes, it is one of the fear mongers sales techniques to tell adults that they are setting a bad example if they cycle without a helmet. Even though said adult has cycled lidless all their life without suffering a head injury. It really is sad :-(

  2. sebbie says:

    *Health professional alert* I tend to see or hear what happens when it all goes wrong (I know this gives me a skewed perspective). Helmets are a good thing :) And judging by the youngest sebbies school trip before easter, during which I acted as a child wrangler, if I was helping on a cycling proficiency course I’d be wearing all the personal protective equipment I could lay my hands on ;)

  3. Bob McLean says:

    I can well imagine that the Dutch (and yes, I’m sure they visit jolly old England, they’re damned well everywhere else) must just laugh themselves silly when they see this kind of foolishness.
    We just had a cycling death in Austria in recent days. Some old codger broke his neck. No mention of whether or not he was wearing a helmet. Plus, I’ve never seen one with a neck brace. Pretty sure a helmet will neither keep you sober nor keep you from killing yourself if you’re really determined.

  4. Kirsten says:

    Hi-viz jacket wearing should increase relative to the vehicle speed of the road cycled, in my opinion. The Dutch don’t have to cycle on 50mph roads, but I do. Helmets may prevent *some* effects of an accident, whereas the orange vest might prevent the accident itself.

    Having said that, I ride short jaunts without the orange, and in the odd event of sunshine, I don a straw hat. Now, what to tell my young niece when the time comes… guess I’ll have a few years to figure it out.

  5. disgruntled says:

    I suppose the main problem is that these aren’t their children so they have to take extra care

    (That said, I never thought of the adults’ helmets as being protection against the kids. Good point).

    I shall continue to set a poor example to any adult or child I come across. It’s one of the joys of being childless…

  6. John Gibson says:

    when I started, I rode up and down the lawn and fell off.
    when I stopped falling off so much my mum let me go out on the road, mind you not many cars about in those days.
    John

  7. [...] man who collapsed during a triathlon, then finishes the race herself. Town Mouse wonders if we’re teaching our children the right lessons. An 81-year old UK man dies after a collision with a cyclist. Great mostly bike-related artwork. [...]

  8. Dom says:

    Can you imagine the inquest and the Demands That Heads Roll should Something Have Gone Wrong and there weren’t signs, jackets, helmets, suitable adult cover, helicopter support, road closures and padding on the roads? We live in a world of health and safety gone mad.

  9. disgruntled says:

    I can see, that if it’s your kid that gets hurt, it probably wouldn’t feel that OTT, although having said that, they’re not much for wrapping kids in cotton wool round here, if the number of small boys rattling around loose in tractor cabs is anything to go by

  10. Andy in Germany says:

    We get it here too: I’ve been told I’m a ‘bad example’ to children, especially my own, by not wearing a lid, so I expect your lidless state was noted by those children -who are usually a lot smarter than we think- and adults (who aren’t)

    Ww get the same here and there’s a load of helmet propaganda at the moment with children being told they are absolutely, definitively the only way to avoid horrific injuries on a bike. This is illustrated by a fairly freestyle mountain biker falling what is clearly a specially designed track, and a cartoon of someone falling backwards from a saddle and hitting their head on a pole.

    The same magazine had a lengthly explanation of why children walking on the pavement must stop at every driveway, entrance and garage door ‘in case a car comes out and the driver doesn’t see you’

    Apparently no-where is safe, except in cars or indoors playing computer games, and if you are injured by a car it’s obviously your fault.

    And the next page they’re fretting about children and obesity…

  11. disgruntled says:

    I know. I mainly try and keep out of the discussions, tbh, and just get on with riding my bike and encouraging anyone I can to come and join me.

    • Andy in Germany says:

      My policy exactly. I’m just happy to see people on bikes.

      Mind you, I’ve just got an invitation for a ‘family bike ride’ from the local German Cycling club with a not saying “Don’t forget your helmet…”

      It’s tempting to go just because I’d be lidless. And no, I wouldn’t forget it…

  12. disgruntled says:

    Andy – I find they put these things on the invitation because they feel they have to and then forget all about them. But Germans may be different…

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