New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

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pjclinch
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New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby pjclinch » 3 Feb 2016, 4:04pm

Up here in the wild lands of the North we have our own NS compliant training, Bikeability Scotland, and it is actually a separate entity from Bikeability with its own resources.
Last year Cycling Scotland announced a major review and asked for suggestions, and given that what we had then struck me as old stuff with sticking plasters to make it adequately NS compliant I sent in several pages and looked forward to something written from the ground up to best teach the NS Outcomes.

The resulting Cyclist's Guide for Level 2 have just been released, and my personal opinion is it fails in several areas. I'm bothered by lots of it, but for starters I'd like The Panel's opinion on the starting off and stopping sections (NSO 2 & 3) so I can decide whether I'm just upset that they didn't like my suggestions, or whether the new stuff really is not up to scratch.

This one wastes time compared to Bikeability but not too terrible IMHO...

Starting off
Before starting off:
Find a safe place on the road to start from (somewhere that you can see clearly and other traffic can see you). Have your foot on the ground and set your pedal to the 2 o’clock position.

1 Look – Check all around, looking back over your right shoulder to see if it’s safe.
2 Signal – If it’s safe to move off, signal for three seconds with your right arm (arm stretched straight out from the shoulder with your palm facing forward and your fingers together). (the diagram shows the rider looking forwards here)
3 Handlebars – Return your right hand to the handlebars. (the diagram shows the rider looking forwards here)
4 Lifesaver – Take a final look back over your right shoulder, just to make sure it’s safe to go.
5 Manoeuvre – Once you’re sure it’s safe to go, look ahead and push on the right pedal to make a smooth and controlled start.


This one pretty terrible IMHO, particularly point 2

Stopping
1 Look – Identify an appropriate place to stop. Check all around, looking back over your right shoulder to see if it’s safe. Is there anything travelling close behind? If it’s very close, let it pass.
2 Signal – If it’s safe to stop, the Highway Code states that you should signal with your right arm (arm stretched straight out from the shoulder with your palm facing down and your fingers together). Move your arm down and up three times.
3 Handlebars – Return your right hand to the handlebars. (diagram shows bike moving right)
4 Lifesaver – Take a final look back over the left shoulder, just to make sure it’s safe. (diagram shows bike having already moved right, rider looking forward)
5 Manoeuvre – Once you’re sure it’s safe to stop, move gradually to where you’re going to stop, and bring your bike to a stop smoothly and safely. Get off on the pavement or verge on the left-hand side. (this stage shown identically to point 4 diagram)


Your feedback appreciated. Since CS only distribute PDFs to registered users it would be Bad Form to post the whole thing publicly, but I might be able to extricate some bits to post to interested Bikeability instructors.

Pete.

(edited to give the stopping diagram a little more credit on point 5)
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Si
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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby Si » 3 Feb 2016, 4:37pm

Starting off....like with the U turn...."who are you signalling to?"
Also seems to mandate right foot on the pedal. In England this is only advisory as some kids (and even some instructors) can't do it.
I'm assuming that you missed out the bit about getting the bike into the road (with out chucking it in front of passing car/bike) and doing the jackie chan (without karate kicking a passing cyclist off their bike).
Oh, and shouldn't it tell you what position to move into once you've pulled away?

Stopping... I think the first problem is with the highway code.....99% of drivers think that a flapping right hand is a right signal. OK, OK, the real problem is with drivers not reading the HWC. Anyway, it's bound to confuse.
Many of the instructors I work with don't bother teaching the "London Look" when stopping. TBF it's something I rarely do even though I teach it. With some kids just getting the right shoulder look in is a triumph! And with some adults, any kind of look is a triumph.

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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby pjclinch » 3 Feb 2016, 7:08pm

Si wrote:Starting off....like with the U turn...."who are you signalling to?"
Also seems to mandate right foot on the pedal. In England this is only advisory as some kids (and even some instructors) can't do it.
I'm assuming that you missed out the bit about getting the bike into the road (with out chucking it in front of passing car/bike) and doing the jackie chan (without karate kicking a passing cyclist off their bike).
Oh, and shouldn't it tell you what position to move into once you've pulled away?


I'd forgotten the positioning point at the end (thank you...) but the rest is on the lines of my thinking. My main issue is that in sitting looking forward while signalling, in those instances where you actually do have a traffic stream to signal to you don't get to see that someone's paused to let you out. And where there are gaps you could take advantage of if you were looking, you have eyes forward and your arm stuck out.

Si wrote:Stopping... I think the first problem is with the highway code.....99% of drivers think that a flapping right hand is a right signal. OK, OK, the real problem is with drivers not reading the HWC. Anyway, it's bound to confuse.


That's part of my issue, but citing tHC as clearly saying this is what you should do... Well, my copy doesn't! The only mention of it seems to be in signals to other road users | arm signals and has a sparse note describing it as an indication for slowing or stopping, but (rightly!) nothing anywhere saying you should use it any time you slow down or stop! There is no implication of any lateral movement at all.
This is a hangover from the pre-NS Scottish Cycle Training Scheme, which Cycling Scotland took over in 2011 and reviewed to make it a bit more NS compliant in a relative hurry. That got a footnote in place that the "wave" wasn't often used but should be known, and a left signal was often as good to indicate pulling in (even if there's nobody there to see it, NS Outcome 5.3 anyone?). That has now gone, replaced with this appeal to some apparently imaginary authority in tHC.

Normally I'd be just a bit miffed, but this has taken them a year!

Pete.
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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby Paulatic » 3 Feb 2016, 8:31pm

The starting off is exactly as I recall it when I did upto level three. As instruction and indeed subsequent teaching seems to occur in quiet cul de sacs and housing estates it doesn't appear worthwhile to put out the hand.
Imagine though starting off on a long clear straight and a car two hundred yards back can see you. Are you going to wait for every damn car to pass from that distance? No, stick out the hand to show your intentions , you are joining the carriageway, and the lifesaver just to make sure you estimated the cars speed correctly and is not now on your backside.
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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby Si » 4 Feb 2016, 10:57am

Well, if you've a solid line of cars passing you somat's gone wrong as you ain't on a L2 road.
If by pulling out you make a passing car alter its path then you are in the wrong, no matter whether you signalled or not (I mean...if you are riding along and a parked car suddenly pulls out across you, then the driver says, as you pick your self up off the floor, "but I had my indicator on"...are you going to be happy?).
If a car is far enough back that you are going to be properly on your journey by the time it catches you then no need to signal.
If there are no cars, again, you don't need to signal.
And if you are signalling in the hope that an approaching car will slow and let you out....then you are in a world of hurt with regard to reaching NSI standards.

The argument that the NS may give is that if the car is far enough away for you to safely pull away, the signal might make them notice that you are no longer going to be stopped against the kerb when they finally reach you...but to be honest, if they can't spot your change of position and your movement then an arm out ain't going to do much good!

And if we are going to go down this route then we might as well go the whole hog and signal for U turns.

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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby mjr » 4 Feb 2016, 11:07am

I'm with Si, especially the 2 o'clock pedal nonsense is neither necessary, nor easily possible on backpedal-braked bikes.

I also think the flapping is inadvisable because few people recognise it and it takes your hand away from the front brake. If I signal stopping at all, I use the Italian/Danish left-hand-up these days (right-hand-up in those countries), which seems far more widely understood, but I doubt an official training scheme would dare mention that.
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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby Vorpal » 4 Feb 2016, 11:28am

If I had all the time in the world, it might make sense to do it that way. With the limited time allotted for Bikeability instruction? Signalling whilst stationary is a waste of valuable instruction time. If students can signal for a turn, they can signal anytime they feel it is useful and appropriate, and they should be told that. The same with praticing and demonstrating the stopping signal. Yes, they should know what it is & how to do it. It just might come in handy sometime. But as an outcome? Nope.

Regarding the pedal at 2 o'clock, that is mainly useful as a lowest common denominator. It is especially useful when teaching people who have not cycled before. Some of the instructors I used to work with called it 'POP* for the position of power, because it was the best position for the use of mechanical leverage. They would tell everyone, 'POP your pedals'. The concept is useful as a teaching aid. As an outcome? Nope. The main thing is that people can set off safely.
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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby Paulatic » 4 Feb 2016, 1:42pm

Don't misunderstand me, I think it's unnecessary to stick out your arm and I've never done it except while in training. After all you don't set off until it's clear behind.
I thought the OP was implying this had come about after a long consultation. I was just stating it was there before the consultation too.
As for hand signals and HC we had a wee quiz at our training and only myself and another guy my age knew all the answers. The others, younger and employees of council leisure, got at least two wrong. Understandably maybe as they've never driven cars without indicators or ever come across a junction with a points policeman standing in the centre of it.
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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby pjclinch » 4 Feb 2016, 6:49pm

All good points and appreciated. I'm working up a document to send to Cycling Scotland and CTC's training folk for further comment. As I've worked at it and re-drafted it it seems increasingly clear that the fundamental problem is the "new" stuff is a re-re-reworking of old stuff that doesn't really accept that cyclists even at L2 will be part of a traffic stream. You can look out for other cars crossing your path at junctions etc., but there's nothing in the materials themselves about communicating and joining with traffic heading your way. Everything is isolated and you only do anything, including signalling, "if it's safe", the actual meaning of which is never made clear.
If I use NS2 riding I can get about a place with moderate traffic levels okay. If I use BS2 I'd just never make much progress...

Saturday is reviewing my training of training assistants as they've expanded the CTA role a bit. Part of it is apparently reviewing the re-hashe^H^H^H^H^H^Hnew resources. I don't think I'm going to be winning any popularity contests :(

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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby Si » 5 Feb 2016, 9:17am

Don't misunderstand me, I think it's unnecessary to stick out your arm and I've never done it except while in training


Quite so. But I'm answering in terms of teaching to the NS, rather than the best way to ride in a given set of circumstances. This is one of the very understandable problems for those compiling the NS.....to draw up a concise and simple set of procedures, that a y5 kid can understand, that are applicable to all road circumstances, or even a fraction of them, is pretty nigh on impossible.

However, adding in extra stuff like signally to pull off just complicates things needlessly I think. A quick test for this: have any of the NSIQs reading this ever had a situation where a trainee (doing normal L2) would have been safer if they had signalled before starting journey (assuming they were following the NS correctly in all other areas)? I certainly haven't.

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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby John Holiday » 5 Feb 2016, 11:01am

Their pro[posals all look a bit too detailed & much of it unnecessarily complicated,particularly for the 'quieter' roads for Level2,
The only time I indicate 'slowing' by moving my right hand up & down , is when driving my 1928 Swift Tourer with no indicators!
We did have a girl use it & I asked where she had learnt it,to be told that her grand-father taught it to her!

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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby Si » 5 Feb 2016, 11:09am

there is something to be said for letting your intent to stop be known while doing bikebility.....so that the rest of the snake don't pile into the back of you :lol:

But I don't think that this need be part of the NS...just as the other techniques of snaking are not part of the NS. Or, if it is a better understood signal ought to be used.

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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby John Holiday » 5 Feb 2016, 3:21pm

Something I should have added, was that we suggest shouting 'Stopping!' when cycling in snake or with other riders on group rides.
Most older riders will see this as simple rider etiquette from years back!

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Re: New Bikeability Scotland resources critique

Postby pjclinch » 17 Mar 2016, 8:05pm

Following up on this after I sent my thoughts in to Cycling Scotland (after a positive critique from John Franklin), today I was over at CS's Perth leg of their Bikeability Scotland conferences, and I was quite happy with what I heard discussing it with Christopher Johnson, the man in charge.

The Bikeability Scotland folk have considerable sympathy for what I wrote, though the bigger picture they have to consider is keeping uptake rates rising and a big problem they have there is the number of LAs where uptake will be controlled by either RSOs or former RSOs, with their "the way to make cycling safe is scare people away from the idea of cycling" take.

So the resources as printed can't be progressed much without the Old Guard jumping ship altogether (politically unacceptable, however attractive the notion may be), but trainers on the ground are encouraged to "add value" and work to the NCST. That's what I'd been doing anyway, but it's good to know that makes me part of the team rather than a maverick. Things will hopefully move forward in time as people who still live and breathe Cycling Proficiency either retire or come kicking and screaming in to the 21st Century, and in the meantime I know that the folk upstairs are happy with me going beyond Scottish resources to bridge over to full L2 NCST.

Not a perfect result, but a pragmatic good one.

Pete.
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