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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

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Old 09-18-07, 07:34 AM   #1
derath
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Don't ride in the street...

...cause the street is just for cars.

I was watching some kiddie shows with my little ones. There was a "commercial" for the St Jude Trike-a-thon. Now granted the theme song is geared towards kids, but I'm still torn over the message.

I would tend to agree that a generic message to kids would be to not ride in the street,(at least unsupervised) since the song hits a wide age range. But I don't like the message it drills into kids head at an early age that bikes aren't allowed on the street. One thing to say "be safe" and another to say "not allowed"

Song is here
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Old 09-18-07, 07:38 AM   #2
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...cause the street is just for cars.

I was watching some kiddie shows with my little ones. There was a "commercial" for the St Jude Trike-a-thon. Now granted the theme song is geared towards kids, but I'm still torn over the message.

I would tend to agree that a generic message to kids would be to not ride in the street,(at least unsupervised) since the song hits a wide age range. But I don't like the message it drills into kids head at an early age that bikes aren't allowed on the street. One thing to say "be safe" and another to say "not allowed"

Song is here
Too bad they didn't try with a message like "Don't Drive... "
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Old 09-18-07, 09:42 AM   #3
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this is the problem with the whole stree/sidewalk issue. obviously we don't want a six year old bombing down 12th avenue at rush hour. but, by the same token, it's unsafe for everyone to have a 34 year old cruising a downtown sidewalk on his fully-loaded mtb.

the question is: where or when does the transition take place? age-based criteria are, in general, ridiculous. is anyone really going to be way better prepared for street riding the day after their 12th birthday than the day before? and frame size is equally pointless -- i know a lot of competent and speedy cyclists who ride teeny frames.

so, when do we start telling our children that it's time to start riding on the road, and how do we cope with making them unlearn all the things they were told about bike safety as youngsters?
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Old 09-18-07, 10:36 AM   #4
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this is the problem with the whole stree/sidewalk issue. obviously we don't want a six year old bombing down 12th avenue at rush hour. but, by the same token, it's unsafe for everyone to have a 34 year old cruising a downtown sidewalk on his fully-loaded mtb.

the question is: where or when does the transition take place? age-based criteria are, in general, ridiculous. is anyone really going to be way better prepared for street riding the day after their 12th birthday than the day before? and frame size is equally pointless -- i know a lot of competent and speedy cyclists who ride teeny frames.

so, when do we start telling our children that it's time to start riding on the road, and how do we cope with making them unlearn all the things they were told about bike safety as youngsters?
Right, but in a way I think you missed the point. The song clearly states to not ride on the road because it is only for cars. That is catchy in the song etc but wrong. I think it is good to teach our kids at a young age that riding in the street is dangerous (because it is for a kid). But we should be able to do this without telling them a lie.

It's one thing to say "don't ride in the street because you are not ready yet"
It is another thing to say "don't ride in the street because bikes aren't allowed"

I dunno. It just kinda irks me. My daughter heard the song and then when I hopped on my bike she told me I was allowed on the road. Imagine the confusion when I tried to explain that the song was wrong.

I believe kids do need to have limits set. I just think it can be done without lying to them.

-D
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Old 09-18-07, 10:44 AM   #5
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Perhaps they could have simply said "... cause the streets are just for grown-ups"? That would work for me.
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Old 09-18-07, 10:49 AM   #6
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I suppose that "the street is just for cars until your rims are bigger than 20 inches" doesn't sound as good.

[There are a few municipalities here in MN that use the 20-inch rule: Under 20 inches should be on the sidewalk; over 20" should be in the street. I can't remember which cities have that rule, or I would post a link HERE.]

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Old 09-18-07, 10:52 AM   #7
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I'd make it simple for sidewalks - keep it under 10mph. For streets, I'd make it reasonably simple - no one under 16 on a speed limit at or above 35mph. Under that, parents' discretion.
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Old 09-18-07, 11:04 AM   #8
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I see a guy around NE Minneapolis from time to time with himself, one kid on a tag-along, and his daughter who can't be a day over 7 on her own bike with training wheels. They ride in the street, in the lane, take the left lane for left turns, etc. And that 7 year old knows exactly what to do and where to go and she can hold her own. Her dad rides behind her since she only sticks up about 2 feet from the ground.

I get a warm, fuzzy feeling every time I see them.

[I think the guy I am talking about posts here because someone who fits their location and desciption has posted before how he rides in the street with his 7yo.]
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Old 09-18-07, 12:34 PM   #9
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I agree with you, derath. I'm betting the guy who wrote the song isn't a cyclist. It's a shame that that message (roads only for cars) continues to be implanted in impressionable young minds.
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Old 09-18-07, 12:48 PM   #10
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I agree with you, derath. I'm betting the guy who wrote the song isn't a cyclist. It's a shame that that message (roads only for cars) continues to be implanted in impressionable young minds.
Yea I sent an email to the band. On the one hand praising them for making music for kids (it's important) but also explaining they can teach bicycle safety through song without lying to kids.

-D
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Old 09-18-07, 05:21 PM   #11
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I'd make it simple for sidewalks - keep it under 10mph. For streets, I'd make it reasonably simple - no one under 16 on a speed limit at or above 35mph. Under that, parents' discretion.
By the time i was 14 i was riding my bike all over town, in the street, making the age that you can go anywhere by bike 16 would cut out ALOT of bike riding adults. I rode my bike back then (and now) to get around independant of my parents, at 16 you can get a driver liscense in most states, why ride a bike to get around if you can drive and/or make your parents take you everywhere as a method to make them want to get you a car. So by making biking inconvenient to young teenagers as transportation, you keep alot of potential carlite utility cyclists from ever seeing the light.
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Old 09-18-07, 05:43 PM   #12
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Back before I had a car but developed the need for independence (14-16 pretty much) I would bike pretty much everywhere on a variety of roads. I agree with ivegotabike; cutting out teenagers might prevent them from biking in the future. If I hadn't commuted to school and work as a 14-15 year old, I think I'd be less likely to have considered biking after I bought my car. But, I biked to work even after the car because I had made it a habit.

As for the TV commercial, I don't think that stuff will really stick with kids. I'd heard the from my parents as a kid but I stopped caring when I was ready to actually start going places. I don't think it's harmful, really, especially because most kids have almost no sphere of awareness when it comes to things that could easily kill them. Roads aren't playgrounds.
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Old 09-18-07, 06:24 PM   #13
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By the time i was 14 i was riding my bike all over town, in the street, making the age that you can go anywhere by bike 16 would cut out ALOT of bike riding adults. I rode my bike back then (and now) to get around independant of my parents, at 16 you can get a driver liscense in most states, why ride a bike to get around if you can drive and/or make your parents take you everywhere as a method to make them want to get you a car. So by making biking inconvenient to young teenagers as transportation, you keep alot of potential carlite utility cyclists from ever seeing the light.
I agree with you there. I was riding on major highways by age 7 and I was biking all over town by age 8. I went way beyond my parents limits. But not without thought. Even at that age, I realized that meant that I was responsible to be safe. They would have killed me if there was a problem.

Yep, in Jr. High, no self-respecting young teen would walk or ride anywhere. Riding in cars was the only way to travel. But I didn't have much self respect. So by that time, I was pedaling all over major cities.
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Old 09-18-07, 07:21 PM   #14
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Perhaps they could have simply said "... cause the streets are just for grown-ups"? That would work for me.
Do you know how many motorists that would eliminate?
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Old 09-18-07, 07:31 PM   #15
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My parents always had the best reason for doing or not doing something, it was: "because I said so goddammit" and it worked out pretty well.
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Old 09-18-07, 07:38 PM   #16
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... For streets, I'd make it reasonably simple - no one under 16 on a speed limit at or above 35mph. ...
Where I live, such a rule would pretty much eliminate utilitarian bicycling.
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Old 09-19-07, 10:02 AM   #17
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I'd make it simple for sidewalks - keep it under 10mph. For streets, I'd make it reasonably simple - no one under 16 on a speed limit at or above 35mph. Under that, parents' discretion.
That's ridiculous.
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Old 09-19-07, 10:05 AM   #18
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I'd make it simple for sidewalks - keep it under 10mph. For streets, I'd make it reasonably simple - no one under 16 on a speed limit at or above 35mph. Under that, parents' discretion.
D'oh! I can see it now...speed limits on a sidewalk.


I'd make it even simpler. Side WALKS are for walking! No bikes, boards, or anything else.

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Old 09-19-07, 12:41 PM   #19
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Even better, sidewalks are for getting kicked off your bike by a ninja master.
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