Monday, July 6, 2015

Kathleen Wilker: "Teaching the Next Generation How to Ride a Bike"

Most experienced bike riders take bike lanes, sharrows, and navigating around car traffic as the norm. But what about those who are just learning to ride a bike for the first time? It doesn't necessarily have to be a child; it could be someone older who wants to learn (or re-learn) how to ride. You can imagine how frightening it would be riding a bike down the road for the first few times.

Below is an excerpt from the article that's subtitled, "Kathleen Wilker reflects on what it will take to help our kids grow up as Generation Bike":
     Back in the fall, I was invited to participate on a panel about biking in the shoulder season. I was happy to accept, but wanted our ten-year-old daughter, Anna Sierra, to be part of the panel too.
     All too often our streets are not designed with children’s travel in mind. Sharrows on a main street, for example, guide experienced cyclists to ride in the center of the lane, but they don’t create routes that children can take on their own bikes. There is a lot of skill and confidence required to make quick decisions when sharing the road with parked cars and traffic, especially at intersections.
     So whenever there is an opportunity for our kids to be included in conversations around cycling, I invite them to join in. To create cities where everyone can get where they want to go, we need to ask kids where they want to go and what would make it possible for them to get there. Separated bike lanes and pedestrian scrambles at intersections would certainly help. Crosswalks on direct routes to school would too.