In Which I Agree With Sajid Javid

The father is a dangerous fool.

A father insists that his five-year-old son has every right to ride on a road after a video of the boy’s near miss with a car sparked a furious row between Jeremy Vine and Sajid Javid.

When asked who was at fault, Javid replied ‘the father.’ I agree.

While there is no law specifying that this child should not be on the road on a bicycle; even supervised, it was a bloody stupid and irresponsible thing to do. Sure, the car should and could have slowed down or stopped prior to their meeting, but that child should not have been cycling on a busy road like this in the first place. Had there been a collision, the father could have found himself as a co defendant in any subsequent case for failing to exercise reasonable supervision.

If you follow the video, the boy asks if he should pull into the side. The correct answer was ‘yes’ given that the obstruction was on their side of the road at that point, so the safest, sensible thing to do was pull over and let the oncoming traffic though. It’s basic roadcraft, something that did not appear to have occurred to the father. No, he instructed his son to ride into a narrow gap towards an oncoming vehicle when there was a suitable opportunity to avoid the confrontation that the boy had spotted. Moron.

I know that my usual position is that children are unreasonably shielded from the real world and I see it with CBT students who reach the age of sixteen and have no idea how the road works because of this, but five is too young. The father placed this boy in a dangerous situation. He is to blame for this. His response to this highlights something else I’ve noticed, a massive sense of entitlement. The man is an egotistical prick who put his child in danger for no good reason and failed to apply basic roadcraft.

Oh, and Jeremy Vile remains a nasty piece of work, regardless of the subject under discussion. Just saying…


  1. Perfectly entitled and dead is not a good look. And you should always drive, cycle and walk defensively because other road users may be distracted, affected by recreational substances, or convinced that *they* have the right of way.

  2. I agree here. Five is far too young to be riding on the road even with supervision. I’ve got a seven year old and I would not let him do this. The father is absolutely and definitely in the wrong here. This was not it seems a very quiet side road this was a heavily used road from what I can see and no place for a child of this age.

  3. Does a five year old child have a “right” to do anything? A 36 year old child clearly thinks so.

    Responsibilities are for other people of course.

    I am actually glad to know that I likely won’t be around when the full idiocracy comes to fruition

  4. I’ll give a brief profile of that father. EU good, brexit bad, Scotland independent good, immigration good, Biden good Trump bad, Ukraine good and the cradle of democracy, Meloni bad, Hungary very bad, Israel very very bad. Climate emergency real, renewables good, masks and lockdowns good. Misinformation and free speech bad, islamophobia disgusting.

    Did I forget something?

  5. Well, they are both wrong.

    If I was driving I would have stopped when I saw the child wobbling around in the road, regardless of my ‘rights’.

    Having said that, I would not have been reckless nor stupid enough to endanger my child by cycling on that road in the first place.

    It’s totally irrelevant who is right here. It’s no good being right and dead.

    • If I was driving I would have stopped when I saw the child wobbling around in the road, regardless of my ‘rights’.

      Correct. However, as I teach my motorcycle students, you don’t place your life in the hands of others, especially when they are driving a box of metal weighing in at about a ton. Roadcraft is about reading the road, planning your ride/drive and staying alive. So the child was absolutely correct when he asked if they should pull over and let the car through. Any student of mine who proceeded into a gap like that would fail their test and rightly so – what the other person is doing, for good or bad, is irrelevant.

      • Spot on there. You should not rely on other road users to do the correct thing nor make assumptions as to what they will do. I thank all that is holy every week that I learned this early on as a road user. This is because we have a 100 mile round trip every weekend to take our child to religion school and it’s a journey that involves a mixture of town, rural and motorway driving. On these journeys I’ve lost count of the number of times other drivers don’t indicate when changing lanes or turning, who are obviously distracted or have to hold back behind other drivers just in case they slam on the brakes just after a country corner because they’ve taken the corner too fast and encountered a tractor. There are few if any drivers who are perfect but there are many who are idiots. For example I was approaching a motorway junction last weekend plodding along at 55 slowing down to make the turn and some fool crossed, without indicting from the middle lane to the slip road. Nobody should make any assumptions about the sense of other drivers no matter how good a driver you might be.

  6. I notice that people have picked up on the father’s use of the word ‘rights.’ There are no rights. Especially ‘right of way.’ The public highway is a shared resource and we have responsibilities both to ourselves and others when using it. When people talk about ‘right of way’ they are really talking about priority as laid out by the road markings and signage. None of this gives anyone a right to do anything.

  7. My most recent “prang”: I was driving up to a T junction to join a main road. As I stopped, waiting to turn right onto said main road I was Tboned from the left by a toddler on an electric tricycle. He’d ridden along the pavement, off it and into me. His gran was about thirty yards behind him in no control whatever. There was no damage done except to the stupid woman’s eardrums . . .

  8. I posted this on Twitter and one response was:

    “I’d like better facilities for cyclists too but it didn’t occur to me to sacrifice my firstborn to get them.”

  9. A dull and rainy day (car has lights and wipers going) and the child is wearing a black helmet and trousers with a plain red coat. He is also well below the expected head height for a road cyclist and likely to be hard to spot among cars.

    The father may not be breaking the law but he isn’t exactly following the Highway Code either: “Light-coloured or fluorescent clothing can help other road users to see you in daylight and poor light”.

    Rather than posting the video online, how about a family shopping trip for a hi-vis vest and a brightly coloured helmet?

    • I’ve seen that and broadly agree with him. As a motorcyclist and motorcycle instructor I have a slightly different perspective. I know damned well that other drivers can be dangerous, so it is my responsibility to remain safe. I’m certainly not going to trust them to do the right thing. Exactly the same applies here. As a vulnerable road user in charge of a minor, the father has a duty of care. He failed dismally in that duty of care.

    • Just to add, the Black Belt Barrister also discusses it.
      His view is similar. My differences with these two are more to do with degree than opinion. I probably have a much lower tolerance threshold when it comes to entitled narcissistic pricks who will put a child in danger to make a point.

  10. The lad is also wobbling his steering as he pedals – as v small children do. He is pulling against the handlebars to get more leverage on his pedal-push. Hence he is far too small and inexperienced to be on any road IMO. And when the time comes to train your v small children in roadcraft, one rides outside them in the line of danger, and on an empty residential road in the middle a quiet Sunday afternoon so that your training happens uneventfully, and you don’t venture out on busy roads and in bad weather until the kid is comfortably competent. It’s the same gig as taking your older children out to learn to drive a car. The Council car park on Sunday is empty but has nice lines on the ground. They can learn to control the vehicle, stop/start, turn, park before they get involved in not bumping into things.

    The father is an entitled narcissistic prick. Let us hope the wee lad is not sacrificed on the altar of his father’s ego.

    NB I ride a pushbike rather more often than I drive a car.

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