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Angie Cook waited over 90 minutes for an ambulance after being hit by a car

The cyclist who had to endure a 90 minute wait for an ambulance after she was hit by a car in Teddington yesterday morning was a cycling instructor on her way to teach a class at a local primary.

Angie Cook, 63 was hit by a woman driving a black Vauxhall Zafira in rush hour traffic at about 8:50 yesterday morning and had to wait until 10:27 before she was attended by London Ambulance Service.

Police and passers-by covered her in blankets and coats to keep her warm while she waited.

Mrs Cook told the Evening Standard's Matt Watts: “I was lying there feeling really cold and not being able to feel my back. It was scary. I kept asking myself how bad my injuries were.

“Because of the back injury I couldn’t move and the advice was not to move me.”

That back injury turned out to be less severe that had been feared. Mrs Cook was hit in the leg and sustained a bruised coccyx in the crash.

She said her crash showed how important it was for cyclists to take care. Mrs Cook has taught cycle safety for Richmond Council for 10 years, and said she would use her experience in her teaching.

“I’ve been cycling all my life but this is my first accident. It shows it could happen to anyone. Fortunately I’m very careful and was wearing high visibility clothing and a helmet. Otherwise it could have been much more serious. I was very lucky.

“It shows how important my work is and how careful cyclists need to be. There’s a lot of crazy cyclists in London who don’t take any precautions and the roads are very dangerous. They wouldn’t have got off so lightly.

“I suppose I should feel a bit embarrassed as I’m a cycle instructor and I’ve had an accident. I’m the first person at work to have an accident. But it wasn’t my fault and it shows there is a risk whenever people get on a bike.”

Mrs Cook said the paramedics had been very apologetic when they arrived. She added: “I think I’d be angrier if my injuries had turned out to be more severe and everyone hadn’t showed me so much kindness while I was there in the road waiting. I’d just ask, am I an isolated case or is this happening all the time and to people in a much more serious condition?”

A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We are very sorry we couldn’t be there sooner and for any distress or discomfort this may have caused but we have to prioritise patients in a serious or life threatening condition.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

32 comments

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EarsoftheWolf [75 posts] 3 years ago
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Amazing that even a cycle instructor is stuck in this victim-blaming mentality.

THE CAR DRIVER SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE CARE.

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oozaveared [937 posts] 3 years ago
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I feel sorry for this lady and disgusted by the ambulance service. I do have to say however that being a cycling "instructor" well that don't impress me much. When my two lads did their cycling proficiency the instructor was worse than useless. Positively dangerous advice and practice was proffered. Luckily I knew so and so did my elder son who was already riding in a club at that age. Unfortunately he had to go along with the claptrap so he would be allowed to ride to school.

Of course this lady may be an experienced cyclist that does know about the door zone and the primary position and that you set your saddle height relative to the pedals and not so that you can put both feet flat on the ground while sitting on the saddle and that cycling isn't dangerous and it isn't "best to stay nice and safe right by the kerb". Let's hope so anyway.

Unfortunately she failed the test. Cyclists should be careful she says - but aparently not the motorist that knocked her off.

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flathunt [245 posts] 3 years ago
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"Fortunately I’m very careful and was wearing high visibility clothing"

Schoolgirl error, obviously she should have been wearing SUPERMAX high visibility clothing.

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benb [81 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

Fortunately I’m very careful and was wearing high visibility clothing and a helmet. Otherwise it could have been much more serious

Goes to show how insidious and pervasive the view is that the safety of a cyclist is the sole responsibility of that cyclist and no one else's.

Pretty sad when even the victims are doing the victim-blaming.

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LondonDynaslow [264 posts] 3 years ago
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That's not very logical is it. How could it have been worse had she gone out without helmet and hi-viz? She didn't hit her head, and the hi-viz didn't result in her being seen.

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birzzles [130 posts] 3 years ago
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Interesting to see the comparison between the humane and considered comments of this lady and the usual repellent bile of the nutters who post on this site.

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squired [22 posts] 3 years ago
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The comment about being fortunate because she was wearing hi-viz made me laugh. It was clearly useless because she was hit by a car. You can wear whatever bright/reflective clothing you want and have a thousand lights if you like, but if the driver doesn't look it doesn't matter. You can also wear the best helmet on the market, but it won't stop you fracturing your spine.

Also, why would a London cyclist not taking the same precautions as her not have got off as lightly? If you are in a crash you are in a crash. Having a luminous yellow jacket doesn't protect you from a bruised coccyx. I wouldn't mind betting that her helmet didn't even get a scratch on it given that the injuries she suffered were to her lower extremities.

Personally I can't understand why this article is on this website other than to get people to comment on how dumb it is.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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birzzles wrote:

Interesting to see the comparison between the humane and considered comments of this lady and the usual repellent bile of the nutters who post on this site.

You mean as opposed to the trolls who just turn up to make snide little comments?

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Paul_C [533 posts] 3 years ago
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"She said her crash showed how important it was for cyclists to take care."

And in the Netherlands, she'd never have come into contact with motor vehicles at a cr@ppy junction like that...

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whatter [5 posts] 3 years ago
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"Luckily I was wearing a 'please don't shoot me' t-shirt and a stab vest: this really helped when I got shot in the leg walking down the High Street. Still, I should have been more careful."

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mrchrispy [499 posts] 3 years ago
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birzzles wrote:

Interesting to see the comparison between the humane and considered comments of this lady and the usual repellent bile of the nutters who post on this site.

/waves at nutter
 26

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BikeJon [209 posts] 3 years ago
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This seems an odd to use an incident like this to complain about other cyclists. The only mention of the driver was that it was her fault. Had one of these errant cyclists caused her crash I could see her point.
But anyway, I hope she recovers OK from the crash and had proper insurance through BC/CTC

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bikebot [2118 posts] 3 years ago
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I would bet that safety instructor had a lot of points to make. And then the reporter decided which of them they wanted in the article.

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ironmancole [358 posts] 3 years ago
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Angie is likely the perfect role model for cycling and even with that premise and all the high viz another lady in her motorised chariot was unable to drive along a public highway without hitting and injuring her.

So, will her licence be suspended pending proof from an optician that she is actually fit to drive?

If she fails that sight test will the DVLA intervene immediately until fitness to drive is certified?

If she fails that sight test doesn't it follow any defence is essentially invalid given she doesn't meet legal requirements, ergo shouldn't have been operating a killing machine?

If she was fit to drive then we can instead presume she did see Angie but instead chose not to take sufficient care around a vulnerable road user, resulting in the collision?

So many relevent questions. Does it matter?

Nah...the law collects it all up into a little bundle, wraps it in a sheet of couldn't care less and sticks a careless label on it.

As for the obscene waiting time? Nothing to do at all with the traffic  102

Wish you all the best Angie, you're a very graceful lady.

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whufan [12 posts] 3 years ago
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Hope you're feeling better soon Angie.
Hi-viz - very useful for your solicitor in an accident.

As an instructor she will be insured, however, this will be a claim against the driver's insurance, it being their fault apparently....although we don't know do we, because I'm unaware that the media have actually got any idea what really happened, as it's all been about the delay in the ambulance arriving. All we know is that Angie got hit by a car.
Earsofthewolf - sorry your lads had such a bad experience during cycle training. Problem is we get a lot of kids coming to the courses who go out with their dad's knowing it all, and actually knowing nothing.... and then match that up with the kids who can't quite ride their bike properly so therefore need to be able to touch the ground...or children who have grown a foot since the bike was bought....or kids that turn up on a bike bought the day before which is way too big....or a bike with no brakes (upset child when they're turned away from the course)...or a child on stabilisers.... but we do our best to improve their cycling ability and road safety awareness, if they are proficient enough to go on the road. Get yourself on an instructors course - well worth it!

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ChairRDRF [369 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm pleased most commenters have criticised the victim-blaming ideology espoused by the cycle training instructor (and yes, sorry she was knocked down, hope she recovers, and the ambulance service gets better funded so it can be more effective).

I have to say that comment is due because is story has been the main item on the front of the Evening Standard for much of the last two days, and that I note:
1. If she was already on the roundabout, the driver should have been arrested and charged with careless driving.
2. If she cycled on to it as the driver was already there, then she was legally at fault . Some of her carelessness could well be due to risk compensation effects of wearing hi-viz and a helmet Asch she evidently regards both as very effective she is thus likely to adapt to wearing them.
3. The hi-viz ad helmet certainly had no beneficial effect at all.
4. Her comments (which of course may have been selected/edited by the journalist) both dangerise cycling and chuck blame at (at least some of) London's cyclists without addressing danger from the motorised.

For all these reasons commenters are right to go on about victim blaming. It show that some cycle trainers can have the wrong idea and are likely to pass this mind-set on the children they work with. Luckily when I managed cycle training in a London Borough I can say that our trainer would not have had this kind of attitude. They were up for good quality confidence training for adults and children: sadly some trainers may not be.

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Paulnrswain [8 posts] 3 years ago
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I got knocked off once broke my ankle, some very nice pedestrians helped me and called an ambulance. The ambulance service rung back and told me to get a taxi or wait 45 minutes, so I literally hopped into a taxi and hopped into A&E (hopping in cycling shoes isn't easy). It was around 5:30 in the middle of London rush hour. I assume they get many calls at this time from cyclists so just treat them as low priority as they nurse at A&E said I was the third one in the last hour.

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gazza_d [473 posts] 3 years ago
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I wonder how much of her comments were misquoted by the Standard if any.

I'm struggling with the thought that as an experienced cycle instructor, she genuinely thought that hivis and a helmet etc helped her in that situation.

I would prefer to think that it was more along the lines of "I was wearing hivis, a helmet, and was taking a correct line and the driver still failed to see me"

If it's the former then I have just died a little inside.
Hopefully, she will use the experience to stress to her trainees that hivis & helmets are bugger all use against idiotic and careless drivers, and that she will add her voice to calls for safe infra.

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JonD [495 posts] 3 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:

I do have to say however that being a cycling "instructor" well that don't impress me much. When my two lads did their cycling proficiency the instructor was worse than useless. Positively dangerous advice and practice was proffered. Luckily I knew so and so did my elder son who was already riding in a club at that age. Unfortunately he had to go along with the claptrap so he would be allowed to ride to school.

You can't make assumptions based on a single example of one instructor.
It could well be - as I think Whufan is alluding to -that the instructor may have been somewhat limited by the ability of the rest of the group. Every year or few I do a recumbent-show-and-tell at a mate's Cub group when they have a cycling evening in the local park, his biggest complain is how little road sense or basic knowledge/ability most of the kids have, so they try to instil some of the basics.

FWIW, it's not 'cycling proficiency' nowadays, it's Bikeability and has been for some time - if you have a look at the related publication - Franklin's 'Cyclecraft' - there's some good stuff in there for all riders - most of which I'd picked up/worked out in 40-odd yrs of trail+error, but it's good to see it in one place.

Whufan may have more to say on the subject, but these are the 3 levels listed - 1 *is* pretty basic but you've got to start somewhere, and the 'trickier' stuff that someone would really need appears in 3
https://bikeability.dft.gov.uk/the-three-levels/

whufan wrote:

Get yourself on an instructors course - well worth it!

I note you're in London - any recommendations ? - having (gladly !) taken a voluntary redundancy earlier this year I've been thinking about it as one of a few part-time options..

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ragtag [219 posts] 3 years ago
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Don't blame the ambulance service. Blame the politicians that are strangling the service with financial cuts so that it can be privatised to their Eton mates.

The rest of the article is laughable, as others have pointed out.

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consciousbadger [41 posts] 3 years ago
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deblemund wrote:

That's not very logical is it. How could it have been worse had she gone out without helmet and hi-viz? She didn't hit her head, and the hi-viz didn't result in her being seen.

How do you know she did not hit her head? In this article she lists her injuries, not the parts of her body that came into contact with the car/road.

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HalfWheeler [672 posts] 3 years ago
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birzzles wrote:

Interesting to see the comparison between the humane and considered comments of this lady and the usual repellent bile of the nutters who post on this site.

You know there is a happy medium. I'm sorry that this woman has had a terrible shock and been thrown off her bike. I would take a guess that, due to her occupation, she was probably blameless.

However you can't help but notice that her comments were a little odd. A car has drove into her and yet she suggests that cyclists should be more careful? Hmm...

That's like saying "well, you shouldn't have walked past that bunch of binge drinking teenagers, you've only yourself to blame for being attacked".

I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, it only happened yesterday and she might well be in a state of shock. But I'm sure she'll see her comments were a wee bit unfair to all those other cyclists who've have taken similar precautions, just like her, and have still been mowed down.

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a.jumper [850 posts] 3 years ago
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Do you have to be a cyclist-blamer to work as a cycling instructor these days? Would someone a bit more like Chris Boardman be comfortable telling novices that they should dress like radioactive lemons?

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whufan [12 posts] 3 years ago
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JonD wrote:

FWIW, it's not 'cycling proficiency' nowadays, it's Bikeability and has been for some time - if you have a look at the related publication - Franklin's 'Cyclecraft' - there's some good stuff in there for all riders - most of which I'd picked up/worked out in 40-odd yrs of trail+error, but it's good to see it in one place.

Whufan may have more to say on the subject, but these are the 3 levels listed - 1 *is* pretty basic but you've got to start somewhere, and the 'trickier' stuff that someone would really need appears in 3
https://bikeability.dft.gov.uk/the-three-levels/

whufan wrote:

Get yourself on an instructors course - well worth it!

I note you're in London - any recommendations ? - having (gladly !) taken a voluntary redundancy earlier this year I've been thinking about it as one of a few part-time options..[/quote]

Bikeability:
Level 1, off street (playground, from year 3), Level 2 on quiet roads (from year 5), level 3 - aimed at secondary school pupils. These levels can all be applied to training adults too. Most councils offer 1-1 cycle training.

If you go onto TFL's website and search under free cycle lessons you should find a link for your borough and the website of the company who has the contract to give lessons. First place for info is to ask that company. http://www.cycletraining.co.uk is an option. I work for cyclinginstructor.com

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banzicyclist2 [299 posts] 3 years ago
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whatter wrote:

"Luckily I was wearing a 'please don't shoot me' t-shirt and a stab vest: this really helped when I got shot in the leg walking down the High Street. Still, I should have been more careful."

Yes it feels just like that. "Sorry my broken bones scratched your car, I'll be more careful in future and crash into the hedge instead"

You can only do some much, then it's potluck

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severs1966 [415 posts] 3 years ago
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As an instructor, she will already have been taking all the precautions that she espouses.

Yet she was hospitalised by a car driver anyway.

This case is therefore a very clear example of why those precautions are not enough to protect people on bikes. This terribly unfortunate incident (and by that I mean just the bit about the car hitting her, not the ambulance response stuff) should be held up high by cycle safety campaigners.

It is basically proof that all the cops in the world can stop you and criticise your clothing, and you can comply with their directives all you like, but this solve road safety.

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oozaveared [937 posts] 3 years ago
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whufan wrote:

Hope you're feeling better soon Angie.
Hi-viz - very useful for your solicitor in an accident.

As an instructor she will be insured, however, this will be a claim against the driver's insurance, it being their fault apparently....although we don't know do we, because I'm unaware that the media have actually got any idea what really happened, as it's all been about the delay in the ambulance arriving. All we know is that Angie got hit by a car.
Earsofthewolf - sorry your lads had such a bad experience during cycle training. Problem is we get a lot of kids coming to the courses who go out with their dad's knowing it all, and actually knowing nothing.... and then match that up with the kids who can't quite ride their bike properly so therefore need to be able to touch the ground...or children who have grown a foot since the bike was bought....or kids that turn up on a bike bought the day before which is way too big....or a bike with no brakes (upset child when they're turned away from the course)...or a child on stabilisers.... but we do our best to improve their cycling ability and road safety awareness, if they are proficient enough to go on the road. Get yourself on an instructors course - well worth it!

Not all instructors are likely to be as bad as the one my lads have. A fair few though are people looking for a hobby and have limited experience as cyclists. And whilst not all dads give great advice ones that have been cycling properly on the roads in clubs since 1973 are likelier than most to spot an instructor that doesn't have the fogiest about cycle safety. It's not their fault of course the recruitment and/or training must be decidedly iffy to allow them to become instructors.

I'm not convinced that cycling proficiency or bikeablity courses done on a quantity over quality basis and at variable / dubious levels of quality are effective. It looks very much like a box ticking exercise where the course has been completed, the box ticked and the important thing was to get as many kids as possible ticked off the list and awarded a certificate.

The usual test of quality would be to ask how many kids failed to meet the standard and get a certificate. All the kids at my son's school got a certificate and some could barely ride a bicycle in a straight line. And now they are all certified as safe cyclists. Of course schools like it because they can make policies such as that kids cycling to school must have done the course so that's their box ticked as well and they're off the hook if anything happens.

So yes I taught my son to ride out in the road where he can be seen, to stay out of the door zone and to make sure that had a jolly good look behind him before turning right etc. All a complete mystery to the instructor who even insisted it was unsafe to take a hand off the bars to have a really good look behind. Probably because she was incapable of actually doing it herself. According to my sone whe was a very wobbly cyclist.

I'm sure you are good and there are many like you but the whole premise of trying to deliver a wholesale training course that is not focused on quality but on mass delivery is flawed.

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thereverent [455 posts] 3 years ago
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She said her crash showed how important it was for cyclists to take care. Mrs Cook has taught cycle safety for Richmond Council for 10 years, and said she would use her experience in her teaching.

I live in Richmond, and applied to do the level 3/adult bikability last year (was trying to convince a friend to do it so felt I should at least do the same). They had to get an outside cycle instructor in as none of the instructors employed by the borough (which I guess includes Mrs Cook) teach level 3. They seem quite happy teaching school children bike control and how to cycle on quiet raods, but not dealing with busy traffic.

So I'm not sure what she will include in her teaching aprt maybe to dress like an illuminous lemon at all times.

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vbvb [621 posts] 3 years ago
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Ha, yes, I see what you're doing with this article and while I refuse to be riled, I do agree, the reported comments are a lot of thoughtless victim-blaming idiocy from someone we would expect to know better.

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OldRidgeback [2856 posts] 3 years ago
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My sons did a bikability course through the local council and with an instructor who happens to live around the corner, and is also someone I know through BC and racing. She was very good and taught them a lot of additional positioning skills and also awareness.

They'd been riding some years already and I had given them a lot of knowledge but what she taught boosted their knowledge. They did ride on some busy roads but she appreciated they were already quite experienced on road (both have also raced) and could move on to something slightly more advanced.

I've seen the benefit to their riding since and my elder son now makes cycle trips by himself to football training, which I wouldn't have wanted him to do before he did the bikability course.

I suppose the quality of instructors varies and perhaps my sons were lucky to have one of the better ones. I've been wanting to do an instructor's course through BC myself for my own club so I can act as an assistant coach, but haven't had the time due to work commitments. I do think there's more potential for more people to do cycle coaching/training courses. There are a lot of riders I see who could do with some proper training, both for on road commuting and also for competition.

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