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  1. #1
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    My daughter wants to ride on the road...

    Next summer my daughter will be almost 6 years old. She has a bike with training wheels now, but they will come off very soon. She already wants to ride on the road with me.

    My problem is pretty simple. I live on a country road where the speed limit is 25mph for the entire road, as it is a residential area. But, for some reason, the morons around here feel the need to drive 45-60mph or even faster, all the time. I am very concerned about her if I let her ride on the road, even if I teach her well, and ride with her. Young kids always have the tendency to jerk the handlebars on ocassion, thus launching them into the street a few feet. Just enough to put them in the path of destruction from one of these dipsticks with lead feet.

    I have gone to the local Sheriff and complained. They were very understanding, and even had a patrol car on our street a few times, and caught quite a few of them ,and I am sure they got some nice tickets that hurt the pocket book.

    However, they continue to drive like ***holes. As soon as the patrol car is no longer in sight, the just keep on racing down the road. Some of these guys look like real winners too. Kind of a cross between rednecks and pot smoking hippies left over from the sixties. Real impressive people, driving pieces of crap that should be squashed in a wrecking yard for violating local noise regulations. God forbid, it almost makes me wish I lived in a neighborhood full of yuppies. Well....maybe not.

    I even signed a petition with the neighbors to have a speed bump put in, but the law states you cannot put a speed bump on a public road, only in parking lots.

    I don't know what the heck to do. I want my girls to enjoy the country, as I got to when I grew up on a farm. But these criminals are ruining it for all of us. It's no wonder so many kids get killed, and our insurance rates are so high.

  2. #2
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    Take her trail riding. I also grew up on a farm but didn't have time for riding much, except on the tractor

  3. #3
    Work hard, Play hard forum*rider's Avatar
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    well if it was up to me I wouldn't want my daughter riding on the road with ***** drivers that you described. Are there bike trails near where you live? If there are thats how I compromised with my younger sister by using the trails instead of roads.

    She has the handle-jerk thing under control now(my sister is 8) but her judgement and stability is still questionable. Instead of her riding on the road with me I take her out to a bike path that is completely blocked off from traffic. She has expressed the fact that she wants to ride on the road with me but I don't want her out on the streets just yet.

    I would keep complaining to the police. If there are other cyclists riding these roads get them to complain too. The same thing happens at my school, the Junior and Senior hotshots in their mommy or daddy's camero or porshe driving 65-75mph through a school zone with a posted speed limit of 25mph. Eventually alot of the parents (and some kids too) began to complain about the drivers. Now we have about 6 policemen outside our school everyday, radar guns in hand giving out tickets as fast as they can write them.

  4. #4
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Here in the City we have extensive bikeways that are used by families, skaters, joggers, and pedestrians. It's really amazing to see very young children learning the basics like riding on the left and yielding to pedestrians. Some seem to pick it up at a very little age while some 12 year olds still ride wreckessly.

    One problem I've noticed is that parents sometimes get so envolved in protecting their child that they don't watch out for themselves. I don't know how many times I've had parents run in front of me, causing me to stop short, because they were warning their child to ride safely.

    I'd strongly suggest taking your daughter to a bike path that will be safer for both of you.

    Stacy

  5. #5
    Now with racer-boy font! Moonshot's Avatar
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    I understand. Don't blame you a bit. However, one day you and I will have to let our daughters and sons have the freedom to ride. They may be 6, 8 or 10 or even 12, but we can't hold them close forever.

    I wish I had an answer.

  6. #6
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    There is no fast answer.My 8 yr old rides right on my back tire when we ride.I really hope she is learning when we go.she is wanting to ride to school soon but i won't let her yet.we have a major hiway right in front of the school and no crossing gaurds.
    I am just hoping she is learning while we ride.she has pretty good control but likes to look around while riding.going that direction too.hope to brake her of that soon
    good luck

  7. #7
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    My recommendation is to ride on the roadway behind her and to the left three or four feet. That way drivers have to move farther to the left to pass you, giving her more room for error. You can also keep an eye on her that way, and give her any needed supervision.

    I often guide novice cyclists on a variety of roads; I prefer to "lead from the rear" and I often ride a bit farther into the travel lane in order to ensure that overtaking automobile drivers don't pass them at close distance. The resulting wider passing distances make novices more comfortable and give them more wiggle room.
    I've done this for adults and kids, including my pregnant sister and even some inline skaters. Note that the roads I do this on often have posted max speed limits of 35 or 45 mph. I wouldn't worry about doing it on a 25 mph road. Just make sure that your daughter can follow instructions and ride a reasonably straight line to your comfort level and the amount of space you will create for her.

    -Steve Goodridge
    http://humantransport.org

  8. #8
    Year-round cyclist
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    I agree with Steve.
    I can tell you that at 5, Ève was able to ride really short stretches on the road, and that at 6 and 7, she was able to do more and more. And this Summer, she rode her bike for 3 weeks to a Summer camp 7 km away from home... with dad a few metres behind her obviously.

    There are some concessions due to height, speed and concentration (or lack thereof on all 3 counts). For instance, when she rides her bike, we tend to do the 2-step left turn fairly often.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  9. #9
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    Six years old is too young to ride on roads. 12 years old is a better time to start-- of course, it depends on the child.



    Jitensha de GO!

  10. #10
    'Bent Brian
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    I too agree with the bike path approach for now. It probably will be the best/safest alternative for your youngster at this time. It is a shame that your local roads have turned into speedways for idiots. Like you I live in the country. I'm just within the 15MPH speed zone for a nearby railroad crossing. Visibility is not too good and there is a blind spot. Speeds are typically 50+ despite this. Other members of my family have nearly becomes statistics when crossing the road just to get the mail. I might add the other family members are severely hearing impaired making it all the more difficult to detect oncoming traffic. (I even petitioned the local county engineer for warning signs all to no avail). If an accident were to occur law enforcement might try to charge you with child endangerment.

    'bent Brian
    Last edited by bnet1; 11-01-04 at 07:04 AM.

  11. #11
    Guy with bike
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    I have a question about the law about speed bumps: Is that a state law or a more local one? When I lived in Florida they installed a bunch of speed humps on some roads that were like yours, and they work pretty well. Perhaps those would be legal in your area. If it's more of a local law, perhaps you could work on getting the law changed.

  12. #12
    'Bent Brian
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    Nope, I was basically told by the county engineer I was on my own. He rated the road as acceptable to cross with nimimal risk. Cross at your own risk he said. The Sheriffs department stepped up traffic control for a little while but the effects from that were short lived. I'll check on the speed bump idea but if the county wouldn't put up a simple sign they sure as heck wouldn't spring for speed bumps. (by speed bumps I'm assuming those little noise making bumps before dangerous intersection approaches? Putting the big ones on a main county road is illegal here I'm pretty sure.)

    'bent Brian

  13. #13
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    Just some info about the local speed hump/traffic calming program in DeKalb Co. Georgia. If a neighborhood requests (I think at least 35%) a traffic evaluation, the Roads dept. will setup speed detectors (radar) and measure the traffic speed for a few days. If it is above the limit (usually 25 mph), the dept. will make a proposal to the neighborhood about placement of speed humps. These humps are fairly large, about 10 wide with ramped sides and a flat top. They are designed so the average car could go over them at 25 mph with no problem, but not at higher speeds. If 60% of the neighborhood is willing to pay (on their tax bill) about $25 per year, they will install the humps. In the neighborhoods where I ride, they really do make a difference. And they usually leave enough room on the curb sides to let water and bicycles through.

    I would suggest you question your county engineer about what data he used to rate your road acceptable risk. And suggest he research what other towns and counties are doing to slow down traffic.

    About riding with a 6 year old on the road. I ride with my 12 year old son who has only been riding about 6 months. He has the ability to steer straight most of the time, but he needs to sharpen his skill at observing traffic. I think riding on trails or anywhere off-road might be best until she gets older. When my son was learning to ride I would find a large parking lot (usually a business park or such) on the weekend when it was empty and let him ride there. It is a shame our kids can't explore their world the way we did, but it is a different world. (usually faster and more cars different)
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  14. #14
    Member plhnw's Avatar
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    Personally, I think the road is suicide for a six-year old. The bike path is the best way to go. She can learn a lot of safety skills there. Hopefully you will know when she's ready to transition onto a road with crazy drivers, but I wouldn't throw her to the wolves just yet!

  15. #15
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    I say you should let her.
    I did when i was young and didnt get into much trouble. you could supervise and make sure she doesn't get all run over and do anything dangerous like my dad used to do with me.

    Unless you live in a crazy town like NewYork like in the films, that is bad.

    Simon

  16. #16
    Senior Member madhouse's Avatar
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    My vote is for bike paths… Unfortunately, you mention that you are from Port Orchard, and if that is in Washington there are no bike paths. We carried bikes to Manchester State Park or the Grade school parking lots, then we moved across the street from a grade school and that meant frequent bike outings for my kids… It was great!

    I now live on a short, dead end lake road with a posted limit of 30mph, which is followed by most. The worst offenders were the friends of a teenager that live near the end of the road, but he has grown and moved from home. We still didn’t let our kids ride on the road by themselves until they were 9-10.

  17. #17
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    I ride on streets with an eight year old. I pick streets where there are very few cars, where those cars are driven by people who live on that street (and drive accordingly) and the prevailing speed of cars is 15 MPH to 25 MPH. Although I stay just behind, and a bit to the left of my riding partner, from time to time, he does something silly.

    For example, when he saw a friend on the left side of the street, he did an instant left turn across the middle of the road, before I could cut him off. He did not look to see if any cars were coming from behind - just saw his friend and reacted without thinking.

    But, at eight, he is still learning to avoid morons with driver's licenses. Last Sunday, we came to a busy four lane where the traffic flow is 40 mph to 50 mph. Rather than commit suicide on the road, we went up onto the sidewalks. While we were riding on the sidewalks, a dummy came down the street at about 45 mph, and without signaling or slowing until the last instant, turned into a driveway. Just as his bumper got to the sidewalk, he woke up and saw us. He slammed on his brakes. My eight year old friend was just past the driveway at that moment, and the car careened into the gap between our bikes.

    So, when we got home, the two of us did some practice drills, riding along the sidewalk and coming to a full stop anytime a car coming from any direction got within thirty yards of us.

    In Houston, the fact a driver does NOT slow down and does NOT use a turn signal is always a pretty good clue that the driver will in fact make a turn. So, survival depends on assuming everybody is about to turn, no matter how carefully they hide their intentions.

    There is a bike trail in the neighborhood, and my young friend said "Okay, now let's go ride on the trail". He enjoys being able to ride without dealing with the extra hassles of motorized morons.
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 11-18-04 at 05:31 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot
    Next summer my daughter will be almost 6 years old. She has a bike with training wheels now, but they will come off very soon. She already wants to ride on the road with me.

    My problem is pretty simple. I live on a country road where the speed limit is 25mph for the entire road, as it is a residential area. But, for some reason, the morons around here feel the need to drive 45-60mph or even faster, all the time. I am very concerned about her if I let her ride on the road, even if I teach her well, and ride with her. Young kids always have the tendency to jerk the handlebars on ocassion, thus launching them into the street a few feet. Just enough to put them in the path of destruction from one of these dipsticks with lead feet.

    I have gone to the local Sheriff and complained. They were very understanding, and even had a patrol car on our street a few times, and caught quite a few of them ,and I am sure they got some nice tickets that hurt the pocket book.

    However, they continue to drive like ***holes. As soon as the patrol car is no longer in sight, the just keep on racing down the road. Some of these guys look like real winners too. Kind of a cross between rednecks and pot smoking hippies left over from the sixties. Real impressive people, driving pieces of crap that should be squashed in a wrecking yard for violating local noise regulations. God forbid, it almost makes me wish I lived in a neighborhood full of yuppies. Well....maybe not.

    I even signed a petition with the neighbors to have a speed bump put in, but the law states you cannot put a speed bump on a public road, only in parking lots.

    I don't know what the heck to do. I want my girls to enjoy the country, as I got to when I grew up on a farm. But these criminals are ruining it for all of us. It's no wonder so many kids get killed, and our insurance rates are so high.
    I think you should find an area where you can ride safely with your daughter even if that means loading the bikes in the car and driving somewhere.

    My daughter just turned six and cannot ride her bike without training wheels yet - we all learn at different rates... She rides on a trailer bike with me on our rides. Even if she could ride her own bike even decently, I would not take on rides on the streets you describe - people driving 45-60 mph!!!

    Even when I pull her on the trailer bike, we mostly stick to subdivisions with very little traffic, or organized bike rallies. I wouldn't even think about taking her on some group rides that I do on more heavily trafficed roads even though I feel pretty safe.

    It's a different world than when we were kids - you have to adjust to it... Nothing is worth getting your kid killed by some A**hole driver. Find a safer place to ride with your kid.

    Look for some sleepy subdivision near you or some industrail park with miles and miles of concrete that is pretty much vacant on the weekends to ride.

    Good luck!

    Any tips on getting the training wheels off? I have tried a few time with my daughter running along beside her without training wheels, but she doesn't quite get it yet and seem very afraid of CRASHING... LOL I've decided not to push her and just do some fun rides with her training wheels on for now... I think she just needs more time on the bike.

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