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  1. #1
    Senior Member KevinmH9's Avatar
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    What A Sight...Kids Nowadays Are Not Educated Properly About Bikes

    Basically the title says it all. The past month I have witnessed some horrifying bicycle accounts of younger children. New Hampshire just passed a law stating all children under the age of 16 are required to wear helmets when cycling.

    A few weeks ago my father was coming home from work and a young child; I believe 6 years old was on his bicycle, unattended may I add. Without looking out at the road before crossing the child rode into the road and my father unsuspectly struck the child. Lucky the child only came out with a mild head injury and a few broken bones. First off the child was unattended in an area he was not familiar with; as we learned later he was visiting his grandmother and was not from the area. The child was also not wearing a helmet! Six years old and not wearing a helmet just makes me wonder about the parenting of this child and how he has not been properly educated on bicycle safety.

    Yesterday, I was out biking around town. I was biking in a relatively busy area, the shoulder was particularly wide, and nevertheless the speed limit was 50 mph. I approached a child between 8-12 years old, who wasn't wearing a helmet and even more shocking, he was on a cell phone. Not only did he not wearing a helmet and he having a cell phone make me feel not at ease but he wasn't really cycling that straight where he would be swerving side to side of the shoulder.

    Basically what I am arguing and im sorry if this thread has come up before, is that children are not being taught the cycling safety rules that are necessary to remain out of harm.

  2. #2
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Back in my day there weren't any "rules". (or helmets) Um, this just comes off as a total whine. The first incident isn't even about cycling at all, but about simple lack of parental attention/responsibility.
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    Nobody ever taught me the cycling safety rules.

    I rode all the time as a kid too...the middle of the street while lighting off fireworks.

    I lived in an urban area though...so bicyclists are (in general) only children.

  4. #4
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    Back in my day there weren't any "rules". (or helmets) Um, this just comes off as a total whine. The first incident isn't even about cycling at all, but about simple lack of parental attention/responsibility.
    Unfortunatly whining about all those "other cyclists" who don't follow the "rules" that a self appointed nanny or safety/legal ideologue dreams up seems to be what passes for bicycling advocacy in some circles. Even more ridiculous is when such whining includes the great personal danger that the whining poster faces everyday sharing the street with "rule" breaking cyclists.
    Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 07-01-05 at 07:37 AM.

  5. #5
    King of the Forest Totoro's Avatar
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    I thought the motto of New Hampshire was "Live Free or Die." Get with the program.

  6. #6
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eelozano
    Nobody ever taught me the cycling safety rules.

    I rode all the time as a kid too...the middle of the street while lighting off fireworks.

    I lived in an urban area though...so bicyclists are (in general) only children.

    I can't even remember how many sets of handle bars we broke playing evil Kneivel, building ramps and jumping garbage cans, each other, burning strip of gas, etc.

  7. #7
    Member Galavant's Avatar
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    I'll never forget the first time that I ate a mailbox face first or the time that I wiped out and donated my leg skin to the gravel <sigh>. We never wore helmets or pads and every kid in the neighborhood had at least one good collision with something (usually a mailbox, I swear those mailboxes attracted us like bugs to a zapper). This is what made us tough and even more so was when our fathers would help us to get back on our bikes and ride again. Sure, I've got some scars and I've probably used up all but one of my nine lives but I am also a much better cyclist now than when I was a child. I don't fear the traffic, I ride with it.

    Granted, I don't nessacerily think that young kids should be playing in traffic or riding on busy streets without proper supervision, but at the same time I can't help but wonder if maybe we are sissyfiing children with all of the "stay in the driveway" and "wear your knee pads, elbow pads, safety gloves, goggles (don't want gravel or dust in the eyes), helmet, mouth guard, and water wings."

    Kids are gonna get banged up, that is what they do. As good parents maybe instead of over protecting them and calling it "safety", we should be there when they fall and help them back onto their bikes to ride another day.

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    Kids aren't taught the rules today, but they never were (as numerous other posters have already stated). The difference today, in my experience, is that many kids are never even given the chance to learn how to cycle in the street, because parents are so afraid that their kids will get hurt. Instead of lack of parental supervison, which the OP criticizes, we actually have massive over-supervision. Most kids today will not be allowed the opportuniy to learn how by trial-and-error to cycle effectively, as most of us did.

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    Unfortunately it is a lot like automobiles. Not only do we have people who are marginally capable (sometimes of coherent thought) cyclists, but we also have marginal drivers. It is not unique to bikes.

    The problem though is the consequences of people who don't know how to handle a bike, or who are just plain clueless, are greater on a bike than a car. Whether in an accident or just plain driving around a car driver is less likely to be injured and is not likely to cause people to change their opinion of all car drivers by our actions. However, because we are a much smaller minority of the traffic mix each bicycle accident, particularly involving a child, gets a lot more media attention. Or when one cyclist (or more properly, person who just so happens to riding a bicycle) is weaving in the roadway against traffic, talking on the cell phone, carrying a bag of groceries causes inconvenience or some type of annoyance to a car driver, we ALL suffer the negative stereotype of "d--n bikes!"

    I agree in the "live free or die" however we are in the minority on bikes and can be seriously hurt. A little common sense, common courtesy, and a little training of our kids (OK, how about just making people parent their kids) can go a long way to maintain our freedoms (you may remember some recent legislation trying to ban bikes from roadways when there is a "bike path" close by) and keep us (not just the completely clueless cyclists) from dying.

  10. #10
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinmH9
    Basically the title says it all. The past month I have witnessed some horrifying bicycle accounts of younger children. New Hampshire just passed a law stating all children under the age of 16 are required to wear helmets when cycling.

    A few weeks ago my father was coming home from work and a young child; I believe 6 years old was on his bicycle, unattended may I add. Without looking out at the road before crossing the child rode into the road and my father unsuspectly struck the child. Lucky the child only came out with a mild head injury and a few broken bones. First off the child was unattended in an area he was not familiar with; as we learned later he was visiting his grandmother and was not from the area. The child was also not wearing a helmet! Six years old and not wearing a helmet just makes me wonder about the parenting of this child and how he has not been properly educated on bicycle safety.

    Yesterday, I was out biking around town. I was biking in a relatively busy area, the shoulder was particularly wide, and nevertheless the speed limit was 50 mph. I approached a child between 8-12 years old, who wasn't wearing a helmet and even more shocking, he was on a cell phone. Not only did he not wearing a helmet and he having a cell phone make me feel not at ease but he wasn't really cycling that straight where he would be swerving side to side of the shoulder.

    Basically what I am arguing and im sorry if this thread has come up before, is that children are not being taught the cycling safety rules that are necessary to remain out of harm.
    You shock way too easy! Always expect kids, on bikes or otherwise, to come shooting out of driveways and drive the damned car accordingly. I would have run over at least a dozen kids by now if I didn't always expect them to act like kids.

    An unsupervised child is probably better off without a helmet. Children have died when their helmet gets hung up on something and they are asphyxiated. Putting a strap around a child's neck is not something to be done without careful consideration. These types of decisions are best left to parents.

  11. #11
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    I ride with my nine year old nephew on a regular basis. I can only relax when we ride on a school running track, or places away from cars. Kids are impulsive and often get "tunnel vision"...focusing on one task at a time. Although I would never ride "side by side" with an adult rider on a public street, I sometimes ride "side by side" with him, keeping him close to the curb. Motorists are more likely to see me than him, and my position forces cars to move left, giving my nephew lots of clearance.

    I've noticed that motorists are MUCH more courteous when I ride with him. They slow down. They move way left to clear us by three or four feet. No honking. In contrast, when I ride in that same neighborhood by myself, the motorists often display brain-dead, reckless, and rude behavior.

    And, my nephew takes the "astounding" risk of wearing a BMX helmet on every ride. I check the straps on his helmet on a regular basis to make sure that they are correctly positioned and tensioned. I've cracked three of my own helmets in the past several years by landing on my head in a crash. I KNOW helmets work. No kid under my supervision will ever get on a bike (or skateboard, or roller blades) without one.
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 07-01-05 at 11:51 AM.

  12. #12
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    Horrible parenting!
    ... is what the OP experienced.

    As for kids in the road, I suppose it depends on the traffic situation. 30 years ago there were about half as many cars as today and neighborhoods were neighborhoods where one could expect reasonable behavior from motorists. I would not allow a child on the road today unless it were a rural area with light local traffic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Galavant
    ...Kids are gonna get banged up, that is what they do. As good parents maybe instead of over protecting them and calling it "safety", we should be there when they fall and help them back onto their bikes to ride another day.

    My nephew, like most nine year old boys, likes to take things to the limit. He has wrecked his BMX bike many times, and then he gets back on, and wrecks it again. But, I take him to safe locations where there is NO motor traffic. So, when, not if, he crashes, there is not a two ton vehicle moving 40 MPH right behind him.

    Riding on public roadways is a totally different issue. In Houston, Texas, drivers always drive ten to fifteen MPH over the posted limit and ALWAYS the first two or three vehicles to approach a red light will run the light.

    At school, they told my nephew, when your light goes "green", you should go. In Houston, you will be KILLED if you move forward when the light turns green. You must wait until every vehicle on the cross street has finished running the red light at 40 MPH. THEN you go. Sometimes you wait two or three light cycles, because your entire "green" cycle was consumed by people running the red light.

    So, If a nine year old in Houston says to Mom "Can I ride my bike the two miles over to Grandma's house", an adult MUST ride along with that child. Houston, Texas is NOT "Friendly Village, Iowa". If I found out a parent was allowing a nine year old to ride alone through traffic in Houston, I would call Children's Protective Services. That "adult" is not taking responsible care of their child.

  14. #14
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Totoro
    I thought the motto of New Hampshire was "Live Free or Die." Get with the program.
    Live free and die?
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
    Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup

  15. #15
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
    Live free and die?

    Better to burn out, than fade away...
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  16. #16
    |+|+|+|+|+|+| * jack *'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinmH9
    <snip> Basically what I am arguing and im sorry if this thread has come up before, is that children are not being taught the cycling safety rules that are necessary to remain out of harm.
    I agree with most of the sentiments posted thus far, and I also see plenty of older, college-age kids
    as well as many adults cycling in a dangerous manner as a result of this lack of safety instruction.

    There are several programs out there, the Bike League's Safe Routes to School program comes to mind,
    and 'Bike Rodeos' and such, sometimes jointly organized by police bike squads and certified League Cycling
    Instructors. I just wish there were more of these opportunities for kids.

    I have seen on a couple of occasions on my daily commute, some kids that actually practice safe and
    effective cycling skills. I was so impressed by one kid a couple months ago, I felt compelled to compliment
    him on his 'excellent technique'. He said his Dad taught him how. That was cool.

    So, there is hope! Do not dispair.

  17. #17
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Any accident is regrettable. Many are explained in such a way as to affix fault to someone's behavior. Many really aren't "at fault" events at all.

    My focus is to reflect on the thousands of drivers and cyclists who rack up serious miles with no irregularities.

    I don't suppose I'd get much of a reaction to a thread entitled "Cyclist Follows Correct Procedures and Completes a One-Hour Ride without Incident."
    Just Peddlin' Around

  18. #18
    ... thelung's Avatar
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    I live in Virginia Beach and cannot remember the last time I saw someone (who was not a roadie) riding a bike on the right side of the road with a helmet.

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