snaking

For discussions within the Cycle Training profession.
charlytango
Posts: 8
Joined: 16 Jan 2010, 9:31pm

snaking

Postby charlytango » 18 Jun 2011, 11:08am

Cyclecraft states "group rides with children require at least two adults to control the group; if there are more than 10 children, more adults are needed." (p236) Is snaking 12 children with 2 instructors safe? Do others, who snake, snake 12 children with 2 qualified trainers or is the risk too high? If the average snake has 8 children and 2 trainers and then the snake size increases to 12 children, is the 50% increase justifiable risk (4 x £40=£160)?

Vorpal
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Re: snaking

Postby Vorpal » 19 Jun 2011, 11:22pm

The Bikeability manuals say a maximum of 12 with two instructors. I can't see that 12 is substantially higher risk than 10. Either group is large enough that it can be hard to manage, especially if it becomes separated. The trainees need to be reasonably well-behaved, competent to level 1 and able to follow instructions. One thing that can't be assessed on the playground is road sense, so I usually walk them the first time out, unless it's a really quiet area.

If I wasn't comfortable with the instructor/trainee ratio for any reason (a special needs child in the group? a heavy traffic area?) I might ask the school to send a teacher or assistant who was willing to cycle along with us. If that wasn't possible, I would base a maximum group size on risk assessment.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

charlytango
Posts: 8
Joined: 16 Jan 2010, 9:31pm

Re: snaking

Postby charlytango » 20 Jun 2011, 6:46pm

Vorpal, when you say the bikeability manual, whereabouts - what page? Just looking at it now and can't see specific numbers but can see that it states to try and keep a distance of 2 meters between each rider which means a snake of 12 (14 inc. instructors) instead of 8 (10 inc. instructors) equals 28 metres at least compared to 20 metres roughly - another 24 ft would seem to be increasing the risk. The key seems to be, is the increased risk justifiable? This then seems to come down to cost; 12 children earns £480 whilst 8 children earns £320 - does the extra £160 justify the increased risk? Is it necessary?

Vorpal
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Posts: 18487
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
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Re: snaking

Postby Vorpal » 20 Jun 2011, 10:11pm

The Bikeability manuals don't specifically state a maximum number of trainees in a snake. Bikeability Level 2 manual says (on page 4 of the copy I have)

For groups, training consists of 5 sessions with an
ideal maximum of 12 children (this can be more
depending on the local roads). This begins with
a two hour session including cycle check and
assessment of level 1 skills on a playground; followed
by four 90 - 120 minute sessions on local road
junctions. There should be preparation work and
practice between sessions. Trainees should be at or
close to level 1 standard to begin the course. There
will be two qualified instructors or more present and
the instructor to trainee ratio will never exceed 1:6.

I find that a group of kids out on the road in hi-viz doing cycle training tends to make drivers pretty cautious, anyway. The biggest risk presented to the trainees is usually from their fellow students. The biggest risk in increasing group size has little to do with how long the snake is. It is mainly in group managment.

Whether the increase in risk is justified isn't a judgement that anyone but you can make, especially without knowing the area and schools. If the risk is for some reason not justifiable, don't do it.

For me, it has nothing to do with cost, and everything to do with the level of risk with which I am comfortable.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom