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Priory Park Road Safety Course for Adult Cyclists March 2009

About 6 months ago I bought a new bike, but just didn’t have the confidence to cycle on the road. Despite having a driving license, I was very scared of having an accident with my bike. I was cycling on the pavements and getting shouted at by pedestrians!

When I went to the Grassroots Book Club at Southend Library, I met Kamil from Transition Towns Westcliff. He had brought along an information folder containing a Southend Cycle Map, printed by Southend Council. On the back it advertised an adult road safety course for cyclists, so I emailed them.

In the meantime I had occasionally plucked up the courage to take my bike out on the road. Friends and family drew diagrams for me of how I should navigate junctions. I cautiously began to negotiate turns, traffic lights and the sensation of being close to traffic. I practiced going out at quiet times, like early Sunday morning. My confidence increased as I did this. Then I got an email back from the Council:

Yes we are able to offer Cycle Training for Adults, please contact Sara Hadden 01702 215715 or e mail her sarahadden@southend.gov.uk

So I called to book a place. I was told that lately there had been a surge in adults interested in cycling in Southend. There were three levels to the course, depending on experience. Level 1 for beginners learning to ride a bike off-road, Level 2 covering quiet roads and simple turns, and Level 3 involving traffic lights and roundabouts. I felt I was somewhere between levels 2 and 3.

I got a call a week later to say that we would be meeting in Priory Park, at the Bandstand. The session would be from 9.30 – 12.00. Our basic skills were assessed and we learnt how to check over our bikes to see that everything was running safely. We then covered emergency stops, signaling and swerving. We played some games that tested our ability to look over our shoulders for traffic, before making turns.

Intermediate cyclists then headed out onto the road in a small group. We wore fluorescent safety jackets and were led and followed by two tutors, which made you feel very safe. We went on a cycling tour of the roads around Southend, even entering the roads around the main high street!

We learnt how to position ourselves correctly in the lane, amongst many other skills such as starting and ending a journey safely. I learnt to break the habit of ‘scooting’ with my foot. I now use my pedal and gears to pull away from traffic lights in a much more effective way.

The sessions have been invaluable for developing my confidence. I now use my bike on the road at every available opportunity, and I’m much more safety conscious as I’ve improved my skills so much. I now feel amazed that I have the confidence to change lanes and pull away at traffic lights – often at the front of the queue of traffic. Learning by example from the skilled tutors has been very informative

by Sarah

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One Response

  1. […] Priory Park Road Safety Course for Adult Cyclists March 2009 […]

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