Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

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Si
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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby Si » 20 Dec 2013, 3:37pm

My approach is to simply explain that with a load of them riding around in a small space (e.g. L1 in the playground, or 'creating traffic' at a T), there are bound to be some close calls and someone might even fall off - if they bang their heads on the ground it will hurt and there will probably be masses of blood (as is the way with even minor scalp wounds), thus wearing a helmet is a jolly good idea as it can save a world of pain and shock (and hassle for the instructors). However, when out on the road if you start messing around and end up under a car then the helmet won't do you a blind bit of good - so don't assume that you are invulnerable just because you have it on.....so you'd better concentrate and listen to what the instructors tell you. If you want to ride your bike without wearing a helmet when not doing bikeablity then that's fine as long as your parents say you can.

I don't see anything difficult about understanding that! I mean, I teach a similar age group Tudor history and the whys and wherefors of the reformation and break from the Catholic Church...if they can get their heads around that then the question of helmets shouldn't cause problems.

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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby AlaninWales » 20 Dec 2013, 3:40pm

pjclinch wrote:Their teacher felt they were a bit young to have that level of information

I suspect that it was the teacher who had lost the ability to assimilate that level of information.

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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby keepontriking » 20 Dec 2013, 4:01pm

IF I am 'forced' to discuss the issue, I ask the trainees what do they think 'makes them most safe'.

They invariably say "Wearing my helmet", despite it being lop-sided, perched on the back of the head or back to front.

I then respond "Err, no, it's the way you ride on the road, and that's what we are now going to learn".

A few look quizzically, but mostly you can see an acceptance of understanding, and we move on to what matters most...

... learning to ride on the road.

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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby John Holiday » 20 Dec 2013, 4:40pm

Regarding the earlier comment on inappropriate saddle heights,we often have difficulty persuading the children to have the saddle set to the right height,particularly with boys on BMX bikes.
We have even had feedback from parents saying they have lowered the seat,so that child can get both feet on floor!
We try to get them to lean left slightly with left foot on kerb/floor & right foot at pedal ready position.
Much of the problem is one of confidence. Once a child is riding without thinking about it,the correct saddle height ceases to become an issue.

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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby pjclinch » 20 Dec 2013, 6:19pm

Si wrote:My approach is to simply explain that with a load of them riding around in a small space (e.g. L1 in the playground, or 'creating traffic' at a T), there are bound to be some close calls and someone might even fall off - if they bang their heads on the ground it will hurt and there will probably be masses of blood (as is the way with even minor scalp wounds), thus wearing a helmet is a jolly good idea as it can save a world of pain and shock (and hassle for the instructors).


Look at the casualty rates for the playground generally and this doesn't actually look nearly so clear cut. If I go in to my kids' school at the back end of lunch time it is certainly not unusual to see one or more of the children being given some TLC by the school auxiliary after falling over.
It's common enough to bang their heads that there are sheets of "I banged my head!" stickers and form letters home. Last week, just in my son's class, one went to A&E with serious winding and another nearly lost an eye in a freak accident with a skipping rope (really, but thankfully okay).
Speeds in L1 are typically far lower than a game of tig/chase in full flow, and when you have intersecting games of that, plus football, plus hopscotch etc. etc. where the participants of one have no interest in the others, you've got far more "need" for crash helmets in a normal playtime. Now factor in the more structured environment of L1, and the much higher supervision ratios, and it's pretty clear the reason for lids in L1 is avoiding any possible form filling and kow-towing to a stupid rule that needn't be there.

It really ought to be the case that it's up to carers. In most cases that would mean helmets, but it's better that it's imposed from home rather than by the school. Hence the Get Britain Cycling report stating schools shouldn't seek to impose helmet rules.

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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby Vorpal » 20 Dec 2013, 7:44pm

pjclinch wrote:It really ought to be the case that it's up to carers. In most cases that would mean helmets, but it's better that it's imposed from home rather than by the school. Hence the Get Britain Cycling report stating schools shouldn't seek to impose helmet rules.


Very often, it is the local authority, which imposes the requirement for helmets.
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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby pjclinch » 20 Dec 2013, 8:56pm

Vorpal wrote:
pjclinch wrote:It really ought to be the case that it's up to carers. In most cases that would mean helmets, but it's better that it's imposed from home rather than by the school. Hence the Get Britain Cycling report stating schools shouldn't seek to impose helmet rules.


Very often, it is the local authority, which imposes the requirement for helmets.


That's the case with us. Head seems pretty much onside with using one's brains but the LA are quite inflexible (thus far... they are looking to appoint a new cycling officer and they will Have Mail once they're in-post).

But it amounts to the same thing as far as the end-user is concerned. Some "higher authority" has deemed that helmets are "essential" and dangerises the most benign cycling by insisting on them.

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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby pjclinch » 21 Dec 2013, 9:43am

And when I say "should be up to carers" I don't mean loco parentis type carers like LAs, I mean parent-type carers.

If I have no requirement for my children to wear a helmet for an activity less risky than playing in the playground I see no reason that the school or LA needs to over-rule me.

A Newcastle GP called Peter Ward wrote to 20 random LAs throughout the UK asking about their helmet requirements for training. They were split 50/50 between compulsory and optional. Interestingly York and Cambridge are in the half that don't insist on helmets, and a couple of bright spots of UK cycling would be...?

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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby Si » 21 Dec 2013, 5:04pm

pjclinch wrote:
Look at the casualty rates for the playground generally and this doesn't actually look nearly so clear cut. If I go in to my kids' school at the back end of lunch time it is certainly not unusual to see one or more of the children being given some TLC by the school auxiliary after falling over.
It's common enough to bang their heads that there are sheets of "I banged my head!" stickers and form letters home. Last week, just in my son's class, one went to A&E with serious winding and another nearly lost an eye in a freak accident with a skipping rope (really, but thankfully okay).
Speeds in L1 are typically far lower than a game of tig/chase in full flow, and when you have intersecting games of that, plus football, plus hopscotch etc. etc. where the participants of one have no interest in the others, you've got far more "need" for crash helmets in a normal playtime. Now factor in the more structured environment of L1, and the much higher supervision ratios, and it's pretty clear the reason for lids in L1 is avoiding any possible form filling and kow-towing to a stupid rule that needn't be there.

It really ought to be the case that it's up to carers. In most cases that would mean helmets, but it's better that it's imposed from home rather than by the school. Hence the Get Britain Cycling report stating schools shouldn't seek to impose helmet rules.

Pete.


Well, I'm speaking from within the context of the framework imposed by both the LA and the NS. TBH, I don't really care either way about them wearing helmets (but if they do then they should wear them correctly). Thing is though, as mentioned up thread....if you stand there telling them that they have to wear a helmet and then you tell them that wearing it won't do them any good and might even make things worse, or that they are at less risk than when playing football, then they just ain't going to get it for the most part (esp. early Y5s)...and if you try to explain it in the detail that it merits then that's yer first session gone and they ain't even got on a bike yet. So, working with in the constraints placed upon me by a system that I can't change, I put it to them in a way that is quick, concise, that they can understand easily and that gets the message across that the helmet is not going to save their life.

Whether or not they are any more likely to bang their heads in an L1 or a game of playground soccer is really beside the point during the session as it would be a distraction from teaching them to cycle.....but obviously, it is a valid thing to bring up with whoever is employing you and writing guidelines for how you are to deliver bikeability, however, if you do so you might want to make sure that you are wearing a helmet as repeatedly banging your head on a brick wall may leave you with a head ache.

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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby pjclinch » 21 Dec 2013, 5:32pm

We have told them that the reason they have to wear helmets is because the LA say they must, and as they are effectively their carers when at school what they say is what goes. End of. We don't try and rationalise the chances of a fall in L1 as being a reason. Children are quite used to reasons boiling down to "because!" so I don't see much reason to go further.

Beyond that the only mention we make in sessions is how to fit them, and that if they are not fitted they cannot be expected to do any good.

A more involved discussion on the pros and cons and expectations of helmets is separate to the road sessions in class, where it is re-iterated that they have to wear them because the LA says they have to (and Mr. Clinch doesn't wear one because he's thought about it quite hard and is a Big Boy now and gets to make up his own mind).

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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby Vorpal » 21 Dec 2013, 5:47pm

I got some of schools I worked with to get a couple of copies of Cyclecraft for the school libraries, and encouraged the kids to have a look at it. I doubt that many have, but a few might. When we had questions about helmets, I often referred children and teachers alike to that book.
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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby Si » 22 Dec 2013, 10:24am

Children are quite used to reasons boiling down to "because!" so I don't see much reason to go further.


Which is a sadness in itself.

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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby pjclinch » 22 Dec 2013, 11:21am

Si wrote:
Children are quite used to reasons boiling down to "because!" so I don't see much reason to go further.


Which is a sadness in itself.


On the one hand, yes, but on the other you've got to face the facts that there are things you can't reasonably explain to them and you just have to say this is the way it is. Let's face it, with helmets the problems of explaining to people in a way folk can properly grasp hardly stops at children.

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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby Si » 22 Dec 2013, 12:08pm

I meant that the sadness was that children accept that explanation generally rather than that you use that technique.

I may have another go at explaining it to them properly. But then again, it's not just the kids' lack of comprehension or the schools'/LA's short-sightedness that you have to deal with.....sometimes it's the other instructors. But I'll get myself into trouble if I relate the hardships that I have encountered.

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Re: Do you get 'experts' telling you what to do?

Postby Vorpal » 22 Dec 2013, 1:01pm

Si wrote:I meant that the sadness was that children accept that explanation generally rather than that you use that technique.

I may have another go at explaining it to them properly. But then again, it's not just the kids' lack of comprehension or the schools'/LA's short-sightedness that you have to deal with.....sometimes it's the other instructors. But I'll get myself into trouble if I relate the hardships that I have encountered.


I had a similar problem. I even came across instructors who wanted to show the kids pictures of horrible head injuries in an effort to scare them into wearing helmets. :twisted:

I won't go into detail about the endless discussions about insurance, reasons that kids may not be able to wear them, the disadvantages of helmets & helmet requirements... :(
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom