My children, 8 and 11, and I must ride bicycles together on very busy suburban roads and I would like some advice on how to do this most safely. When I am alone, I ride in the street and am very comfortable there. I have tried riding that way with my daughter, the older child, but it soon proved unsafe and I haven't dared to try it with both children. She and I were riding together and she was in front. It didn't take long for her to get spooked, and almost hit, by a car shooting out too far in a right turn lane without so much as looking at who might already be there. She did everything right but it was still almost ugly.
So now we ride on sidewalks together. We wind up stopping at almost every driveway and dismount and use the crosswalk at every controlled intersection. I won't let them ride through a crosswalk and I don't feel secure letting them ride in the street so the whole thing feels very schizophrenic and annoying to me. There are very few 'mid-mile' lower traffic streets to use and the few that exist generally terminate in uncontrolled crossings of 5 lanes of traffic. Any advice?