Getting around

  • As you get older, you may want to travel further away from home, to go to town or even a different town
  • If you can’t get around, you can’t make the most of opportunities to experience new things
  • You don’t have a right to things like public transport – but you shouldn’t be treated differently or unfairly when public transport is available

Getting around is part of you getting independence. If you can get on a bus or train to visit someone or go somewhere it opens up more freedom and more opportunities. When you are younger, you will only be able to go somewhere if you can walk there or if an adult takes you. As you get older, you can walk further, or you might be able to go somewhere on your bike. You might also have access to buses or trains so that you can get to other places. Your human rights mean that you shouldn’t be treated differently and unfairly if you’re using public transport. There should also be laws in place to protect you, as a child, when you’re travelling – either by walking, riding your bike or when you’re in a moped or learning to drive.

There’s no minimum age you have to be before you can cross the road on your own. Your parents or the people with parental responsibility for you have to teach you how to cross a road safely (this is in the Green Cross Code which is part of the Highway Code). They shouldn’t let you cross a road on your own until they are confident that you know the rules and understand how to cross a road safely.

Like crossing the road, there’s no minimum age when you can ride a bike on your own, but you have to understand the rules that apply and know how to be safe on the road.

No one is allowed to cycle on a pavement so if you are riding your bike out and about, you should be on the road.

You have to make sure your bike is safe to cycle. You will need lights if you’re out after dark, and you need to think about how to make yourself visible to other people using the road, including car and lorry drivers, as well as pedestrians.

You have to be 16 to ride a moped. You also have to have a provisional moped licence and have done Compulsory Bike Training (CBT) before you can take a moped out on the road.

You can apply for a provisional driving licence once you’re 15 and 9 months old. You have to be able to read a number plate form 20 metres away. You can start learning to drive when you’re 17, as long as you have a provisional licence.

You don’t have to pay for driving lessons – you can just practice with another adult who is over 21 and has the right kind of driving licence, and is prepared to be in the car with you. If you do pay for driving lessons, it should be with a qualified driving instructor or trainee driving instructor.

You have to have the right insurance to drive a car when you’re learning to drive. You have to have an ‘L’ or ‘D’ plate on your car if you’re a learner driver in Wales.

You have to pass a theory test before you can take your driving test. Most people can take their theory test from your 17th birthday onwards.

Once you have passed your test, you can drive without anyone with you in the car.

There’s no fixed age when you can start to go on public transport on your own. If you’re very young, or seem to be upset or worried about being on public transport, someone like a bus driver or someone at a train station might ask you if you are OK. If you’re using the train and the staff think you might be too young to be out alone, they might contact the British Transport Police and ask them to make sure you are alright. You won’t be in trouble – they will just want to make sure nothing is wrong.