It’s a gorgeous spring day here in southern Oregon, and, after we finished with homeschool, Nigel wanted to ride his bike, alone, to a store a mile and a half away on a busy street. I blanched at the thought.
As I have mentioned before, I feel semi-comfortable with him riding alone around the suburban neighborhood in which we live. I know, I know. He’s thirteen years old, for God’s sake. Let the kid ride his bike. But this particular thirteen-year-old kid, even though he can talk now, still has sensory issues which can compromise his safety (and possibly the safety of others). What happens if a commercial truck drives right next to him and the rumbling (roaring, to him) of it jars him enough to make him wobble, hit the curb, and fall into the path of the truck? Or, if he appears to not be paying attention, the driver of the truck, or any vehicle, could sound their loud horn to alert him, and it would startle him enough to make him lose control of his bike and veer into traffic.
Then there are the flying insects. At any time while walking, if any flying insect, from a tiny gnat to a huge moth, happens to come near Nigel, he immediately begins violently shaking his head, flinging his arms around, and running away. This cannot happen on a bike on a busy street.
So I talked to Nigel about my truck concerns, about holding his line so that he does not wobble too close to traffic (“I hold my line,” he said in his deadpan voice), and about insects flying in his face. That sobered him for a moment, and I could see the wheels turning. Then he said, “We just need to extinguish bees with stingers. Or make flightless bees.” Flightless bees. Time to do a homeschool unit on pollination.
In the end I realized that, safety concerns aside, I have to get him a bike lock before he can ride his bike to the store anyway. So I’ve successfully put off the bikeriding-on-a-busy-street milestone for another day.