Frequently Asked Questions

1. Whose responsibility is it to ensure that children wear seatbelts in a car?

It is the drivers’ responsibility to make sure that a child under the age of 14 is using an appropriate car seat or wearing a seat belt. The law requires all children travelling in cars to use the correct child restraint until they are either 135 cm in height or the age of 12 (which ever they reach first). After this, they must use an adult seat belt. The most serious consequence to not following the legal requirements is that a child could be killed in an accident.

If you are convicted of not ensuring that a child travelling with you is in the correct child seat or using a seat belt, you could be fined up to £500. In addition, not following the legal requirements could affect any claims against your motor insurance. If you are carrying someone else’s child you could also be sued for damages.

 

2. Should I allow my child to cycle to school?

The answer to this question will vary according to a number of factors:

  1. The age of the child.
  2. The competence of the child.
  3. The route to school.

Children under 10 don't have the ability to judge speed and distance accurately. Their spatial awareness skills have not developed to the point where their safety is sufficiently assured, even if they are accompanied. Children can take a cycling proficiency test after cycle training has taken place when they are 10 years old. This will help them become more aware of the road and other road users. Children should also be fitted with a correctly fitting cycle helmet. Further information is available in a Department for Transport report:

The Potential for Cycle Helmets to Prevent Injury 

It is important to plan the route to school with care especially if it is a busy road filled with rush hour traffic.

 

3. Should I insist that my child always wears a helmet when cycling?

The use of a correctly fitting cycle helmet is highly recommended. Further information is available in a Department for Transport report: The Potential for Cycle Helmets to Prevent Injury

 

4. Is there a requirement for my child to have lights on his/her bike?

Yes, there is a legal requirement. As with all road going vehicles, lights should be fitted and displayed during the hours of darkness. Lights are an essential part of everyday cycling and can be considered to be an additional safety precaution even for daytime riding.

 

5. What do I need to know about cycle security?

Lock it or lose it!
There are a multitude of locks available for securing your bike against theft. There are cables, chains or armoured locks available from your local bike shop.

6. What should my child consider before riding a horse on the road?

Riders should follow the Highway Code and obey all road signs, road markings and traffic lights. Riding two abreast can be useful, especially if one of the riders or horses is inexperienced, but riders should return to single file where the road narrows and when approaching bends.

 

7. Must my child wear a horse riding safety helmet?

The law only requires children to wear helmets when riding a horse on the road. However, it is strongly recommended that all riders of horses, or other equine animals, on the road wear a helmet. All horse rider helmets sold in the UK must also have a CE mark.

 

8. What should drivers consider when approaching horses?

Drivers should be aware that riders are often children, and therefore, less experienced. Drivers should watch out for horses on the road, especially when approaching bends and on narrow rural roads. They should watch out for sudden movements, as horses can be easily frightened and unpredictable. Drivers should always slow down when seeing a horse and drive past slowly, giving them plenty of room and being ready to stop if necessary. Drivers should never sound their horn or rev their engine near horses.

 

9. What advice can I give my child about horse riding safely?

Remind them to:

  • Always wear fluorescent/reflective clothing whatever the weather or light conditions.
  • Ask a rider with a horse who is experienced and calm to accompany them if their horse is inexperienced and not used to roads.
  • Ride single file.
  • Always cross major crossings in a group, rather than trickling across one by one.
  • Leave details of their intended route and estimated time of return with a responsible person.

Don’t

  • Ride in failing light, fog or darkness. Avoid icy or snowy roads.
  • Take a mounted group of more than eight horses on the road.

 

 

10. Who is responsible for my child's safety travelling to and from school?

Parents are responsible for their children whilst travelling to and from school. However, help and guidance are available from the local authority. In Wales the Travel Code provides guidance and outlines the responsibilities of the children who are travelling as well as parents and the Local Authorities.

 

11. What is a walking bus?

This term refers to an organised walk to primary school usually run by parents. The adults supervise the children who form the ‘bus’. Arrangements are made with all the parents and carers in the scheme to collect children en route to school. Sometimes the children are required to hold onto a rope as they walk in pairs along the pavement. They are closely supervised by the volunteer adults as they walk.

If you are considering this method of school transport you will be able to get information from your child’s school. Always make sure that all the adult volunteers have up to date Criminal Records Bureau clearance.

 

12. What information can I give my child to help them keep safe whilst travelling?

Tales of the Road, a highway code for young road users, is available free of charge on request. Follow THE LINK.

 

13. What can I do to help keep my child safe when they are new to driving?

Talk to your child about the dangers of being a new driver and make sure they are aware of basic safety laws such as always wearing a seat belt.

Talk to your child about always telling you their destination before leaving in their car.

Discuss how to keep safe when driving with friends.

Make sure they know not to text or talk on mobile phones whilst driving or when stopped at traffic lights or during other hold-ups. It is an offence to do so.

Make sure they know to never drink alcohol and drive or take drugs and drive

Talk about the importance of following speed limits and parking restrictions and the consequences of not i.e. fines and penalties.

Talk to them about avoiding distractions whilst driving such as playing with the stereo, smoking, eating and drinking

Always make sure that your child is driving with the correct insurance

Ensure that the car your child is driving is road worthy. All cars must have an up to date MOT and be taxed.

Download The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) information and advice document on safer driving for young drivers HERE.

 

14. What happens if my child is caught speeding and gets penalty points on their licence?

If a driver gets six or more penalty points within two years of passing their first driving test they will lose their licence. They would then have to apply for a provisional licence, display an L plate on their car, only drive when supervised and pass the theory and practical driving tests again!

 

15. Why are child car restraints necessary?

Even in a minor crash, an unrestrained child would be thrown about inside the vehicle, injuring themselves and others. They could be thrown from the car through one of the windows. To find out what type of child restraint your child needs visit HERE. 

Keep your child safe: to make sure that your child has the right type of child or booster seat:

Ensure that the seat or booster seat fits your car

Always take your child with you when you buy a child seat or booster seat

Make sure it is properly fitted in your car every trip

Check that your child’s booster seat raises him/her into the correct position so that the belt fits well

Make sure that your child knows that it is against the law for them not use a child restraint if they are under 12 years old or under 135cm tall.

 

16. What is the Travel Behaviour Code?

The Travel Behaviour Code or Travel Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of children and young people travelling to and from their school/collage or any other place of learning. It applies to all pupils up to 19 years of age and all modes of transport, including car, bus, taxi, train, walking and cycling.  There is a ‘School Bus Travel Code’ which includes additional guidance for pupils who travel to school or college by bus.