Teaching a 15 yr old w/ ADHD how to ride a bike in traffic

Discussion in 'General Education' started by studbike, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. studbike

    studbike Guest

    Mar 25, 2018

    just joined this forum. I have zero experience teaching anyone anything! I am a lifelong cyclist (30 yrs old), and have been contracted by a neighbor to improve her daughter's riding skills. She has ridden as a child, but it's been a long time, and when they try and ride with her she is uncooperative and uneasy in traffic. So my task is to instill confidence in her, especially around cars. The goal is for her to be able to ride to the train station all summer. It's about a mile through hilly suburbs, with a couple of busy intersections.

    This is what her mom says: "[she has] adhd and memory challenges, and is an experiential learner (the classroom approach isn't right for her). She learns best with repetition. Simple and clear directions. maybe even a written sheet for her to review. A literal learner. can't learn from me or her dad, too much emotion and drama in the way!"

    to me, these statements seem to contradict each other.

    I'm in over my head here. Open to any and all suggestions about how to go about this.

    Here is my loose game plan so far:

    1st lesson: take her up to a car-free area and just get to know her. spend most of the time trying to bond with her and not really try too hard to improve her skills at anything. I will show her how to properly mount and dismount the bike (believe it or not most people don't know how to do this) and if she doesn't know about how and when to shift gears, maybe use that as a topic to talk about, but not obsess over.

    2nd lesson: back to the same area, but this time we will ride a little faster and practice shifting. Towards the very end of the lesson, I will ride faster and overtake her from behind, similar to what a car would do. Repeat this, getting a little closer, until she can hold her own line. leave it incomplete.

    3rd lesson: Continue over-take training until i can pass her closely without her wavering. hoping that breaking it between two lessons will make her more comfortable with it. Talk to her about when it's ok to ride on the sidewalk (almost never! but OK if you're escaping from an obstacle or emergency).

    4th lesson: time to go on real roads. I think i'm going to try a vibe similar to the first lesson: just watch and ease her in to it without any pressure to "learn" anything.

    5th: Turn-signaling, obeying the law and yielding to cars and pedestrians.

    6th: Emergency braking (shifting weight back and pulling the front brake hard). This is a dangerous, but in my opinion necessary ingredient to riding in urban areas. You need to be able to brake hard, but not panic and brake too hard and flip over the bars. her bike has vee-style brakes which are very strong, and you can easily flip over the bars if you just grab at them without practicing first.
  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Aug 2, 2002
    Likes Received:

    Mar 25, 2018

    Teach the rules of the road (traffic laws) before doing anything else. Have her act them out in order to remember.
    Tired Teacher likes this.
  4. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

    Feb 18, 2009
    Likes Received:

    Mar 26, 2018

    I think you are taking on way too much responsibility here. Do you not have professionally run classes she could attend (and her parents could pay for). One slip while you are out on the road and you could be in serious trouble.
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Jul 3, 2010
    Likes Received:

    Aug 26, 2023

    I can see that you put a lot of thought into it. I can see that all 6 lessons are different. That doesn't work well when you want someone to remember information. There needs to be constant spiral review. There also needs to be plenty of time for practice. You won't know how many of these practice sessions you need until you get started. I agree so much with blazer that you get a professional to do this. I applaud your efforts with these lessons. I can't recommend them as these don't have enough spiral review and practice to build up the essential skills to become successful and safe on the roads with a bicycle.
  6. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Cohort

    Oct 25, 2016
    Likes Received:

    Aug 26, 2023

    Rule #1: ALWAYS wear a helmet. My first week at a new school and a coworker's husband was in a horrific biking accident. I mean like multiple emergency surgeries horrific. If he hadn't been wearing a properly fitted helmet, he'd be dead. The new design with the adjustable back strap is such an improvement over the stacks of foam pads.

    Rule #2: Be visible. The teensy reflectors that come stock on most bikes are not enough. A bright frame color, bright clothing, a helmet with reflector, bags with reflective strips, headlights, taillights, spoke lights, anything to make sure drivers notice you. My SO bikes/runs in the evenings sometimes, so I got him a set of LED armbands for safety.

    Check the rules for your state and municipality. Some say ride with traffic when using the street, some say ride against traffic. Where I'm from, sidewalks are for bicycling children 12 and under only. Where I live now, anyone can use the sidewalk to bike. If you're using the street, you're required to have lights, not just reflectors, on the front and back. I'm supposed to dismount when crossing a street and walk the bike across. Every area is different, so check before teaching kids.
  7. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

    Jul 31, 2019
    Likes Received:

    Aug 31, 2023

    I 100% agree. When I read the topic, I thought WHY would you teach a child, especially 1 with ADHD, to ride in traffic? I wouldn't teach my own to do this. I may be extremely paranoid, but I was in a car wreck as a child where a boy, I knew was hit and died. It was awful.
    We have a lot of bike paths where I live, so I'd encourage the use of those. I don't think kids should be in traffic. They are too impulsive and don't have good judgement yet.
    readingrules12 likes this.
  8. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

    Apr 29, 2008
    Likes Received:

    Sep 5, 2023

    I agree. Seems like an odd post to me.

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