Every year, the year 5 children in North Lincolnshire schools are offered the opportunity to undertake a basic road safety cycling course, otherwise known as Cycling Proficiency and, with Middle Mudlets safety paramount in our minds, Mud and I readily signed her up for this years course. Sessions of 1.5 hrs (with a 10 minute break half way) were held, over 4 consecutive Wednesdays and during these, the eight year 5 pupils from our school who had signed up for the course, were taught:
- to check for traffic before starting any given manoeuvre, whether it be passing parked cars, turning left or right, or that they were about to stop;
- how to signal correctly for right and left turns;
- where abouts in the road to position their bikes before making a turn;
- who had right of way; and
- general observation before, during and after carrying out a manoeuvre.
The section of road used for the training wasn’t a main road but you would never have known judging by the amount of traffic the children had to cope with each week. They were all amazing though, listened carefully to the main instructor and carried out the instructions given. I was lucky enough to be asked to help out at the sessions and it was fantastic to watch the children develop into confident and careful riders in such a short period of time. It did get a little frustrating at times though, as the ever thoughtful villagers, obviously trying to help the children, would slow right down or stop (even if they had the right of way), to allow a child to complete a turn which kind of defeated the object somewhat.
Thankfully the numerous builders/delivery van drivers were far less considerate and so the young cyclists did get a fair amount of real world experience during their training.
Yesterday was test day and it was with quaking nerves that the main instructor, myself and another parent who had helped with the training, watched each of our charges perform two turns: a right one and then a left. With a sense of pride we saw each child looking back over their shoulder before signalling, signalling with steady arms and good bike control, correctly positioning themselves for each turn and then looking for on-coming traffic before finally performing the turn. One by one, they performed the two turns required before returning to us, leaving their bikes and then walking down to the examiner to hear their result, as the next child started their test……
…… and one by one, we got the thumbs up sign and a huge beaming smile as each child received the news we had been hoping for, including Middle Mudlet, whose test I couldn’t watch due to nerves but my two companions gave me a blow by blow account as she carried out each step: look, signal, manoeuvre.
Now Middle Mudlets’ bike is wearing a new badge of honour in the form of a rather snazzy looking sticker and Middle Mudlet and her friends each received their own badge, during school assembly this morning. Well done to them all, they deserve their success.