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  1. #1
    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    Sesame Street Biking - start them young, teach them right.

    Wow -

    I was flipping channels last night before work, and saw Elmo from Sesame Street doing a show that seemed to be about nothing but riding your bike. Complete with animated bike and helmet - the bike would want to do something, the helmet's reply was always 'Not without me!!!'. I guess Elmo's goldfish got an underwater bike ornament for it's bowl and wanted to know about bikes.

    I don't know, but it just gave me a good feeling - seeing television actually trying to encourage little kids(I'm guessing 4-8 years of age is the demographic for Sesame Street?) to ride bikes is a good thing, right? I didn't watch the whole show, but every time that I passed that channel, it was more Elmo with bike and helmet, or little kids riding their bikes through the studio.... They even managed to teach some basic numbers math to the kids with it - how many wheels on a bicycle? 2(Yeah!!!=elmo) How many wheels on a tricycle? 3(yeah!!!=elmo). How many wheels on a bike with training wheels? 4(yeah!!!=elmo).

    It's pretty much a given that most of a person is formed in the earlier years. In the US at least, school is just a stepping stone to work, because they finally passed laws against child labor. But it's still 8 hours a day, doing pretty much the same things over and over. I read somewhere how factories were influential in the formation of public schools... They wanted people used to 8 hour shifts from the get go.

    It was just nice knowing that there is some kid out there that wants to try riding a bike because they saw Elmo on one....

    Sorry if it's asinine, but seeing that did actually give me warm fuzzies thinking of the future...

  2. #2
    Burn-em Upus Icephaltus Gojohnnygo.'s Avatar
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    I'd like to see a bike safety program run at all schools. During the last week of school, just before summer vacation. Thats when they need it most when the little ones are riding and hopefully not playing that awful sony play station!

    If they feel confident about riding then maybe the U.S. wouldn't have 1 out of 4 kids being overweight!

    Remember the old days when we rode all over all summer long.

  3. #3
    Climb on my trusty steed BeTheChange's Avatar
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    I'm only 20 so being a kid riding all summer long wasn't that long ago. I guess all these kids being sedentary happened in the last 10 years or so. That makes me happy as hell that they had a show about that. It seems the bike is coming back in a lot of ways. At my college there is now nowhere to park your bike because so many people are biking now. Two years ago you had almost the whole thing to yourself. Things are getting better I think, slowly but surely.
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  4. #4
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gojohnnygo.
    I'd like to see a bike safety program run at all schools. During the last week of school, just before summer vacation. Thats when they need it most when the little ones are riding and hopefully not playing that awful sony play station!
    I think that's been done in many places, and it's often the cause of people playing with their Sonies. Usually it's just a heap of gaff about how dangerous cycling is, and a lot of instructions telling the kids to do things that put them in even greater danger (such as riding against the flow of traffic).
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  5. #5
    Burn-em Upus Icephaltus Gojohnnygo.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris L
    I think that's been done in many places, and it's often the cause of people playing with their Sonies. Usually it's just a heap of gaff about how dangerous cycling is, and a lot of instructions telling the kids to do things that put them in even greater danger (such as riding against the flow of traffic).
    I hear you Chris. Plattsburgh, NY is a good example. They run a tv commercial that tells children to ride on the sidewalk.

    Thats why WE need to start running these programs ourselves. Real cyclist know the real deal. We all need to show the little ones the right way to go about it.
    Not from some government approved program.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gojohnnygo.
    I hear you Chris. Plattsburgh, NY is a good example. They run a tv commercial that tells children to ride on the sidewalk.

    Thats why WE need to start running these programs ourselves. Real cyclist know the real deal. We all need to show the little ones the right way to go about it.
    Not from some government approved program.
    Ahhh... the ubiquitous WE...

    I think we all agree that something needs to be done, but what is the "something" that we, the cycling community, agrees needs to be done. And, are we, the cycling community, going to be able to agree on what actually is done?

    For example, I've seen the bad habits rear coaster brake hubs and BMX-style bikes create in children's riding skills. Would it even register as problem for most adult riders? As these children go on to adulthood, they retain these bad technical habits that are very, very hard to break.

    To cap it all off, there is the generational hand-me-down and reinforcement of the "don't ride on the road because it's dangerous" principle. I heard at the weekend parents in their mid-30s say: "I won't let my kids ride on the road". Kids aged 15 and 12.

    In my coal-face experience, Vehicular Cycling principles are the starting point. Right at the beginning is appropriate equipment, bike knowledge, and handling skills. Road and other skills flow on from there. The principles apply irrespective of age (mind you, judgment is another matter that only develops with age).

    But we have so-called cycling advocates actually promoting the idea that these VC principles are dangerous, and that no cyclists should be on the roads -- any roads -- because they might hold up traffic or get run over. Sadly, government listens to them and even worse, to the ones who are enthusiastic newcomers who are scared to ride in traffic and therefore demand segregated facilities (I do try to point out that training riders is a much cheaper option than building segregated infrastructure).

    Against all that is a desire to develop a coherent training program even for kids. It remains a difficult task.

    In Australia, we have the Bicycle Education program. To run it in schools, the operators have to virtually beg the school principals to do it, and at ridiculously low fees. You can't even make a decent living from it, at least the one here in Tas doesn't. The State Education Dept just doesn't want to know.

    Bike Ed also competes against a very successful Austswim learn-to-swim campaign, which receives large wads of funding from government based largely on the scare tactic that children *have* to learn to swim so they don't drown in swimming pools, farm dams and the ocean. I've tried to get national cycling bodies to look at the way the Austswim campaign is run, and the training attached to it. Sadly, there has been little success.

    Of course, cycling is regarded in the broader community and in schools as a physical education activity, rather than a life skill in transport -- another major hurdle for advocates to overcome.

    The school principals get pressure from phys ed teachers to spend budget money on their special interests such as football, basketball or some other short-term team sport. Or maybe just buying books for the library, and desks, seats and computers for the kids to use.

    And the parents won't let their kids ride to school for two reasons -- lack of adequate security of bikes on school grounds is listed (surprisingly) as highly significant; and because it's too dangerous because of motor vehicles and predatory adults.

    The State and Federal Governments come up with motherhood statements about how cycling is good for our physical, emotional and environmental health. Then they do little or nothing to support those intentions.

    The Feds published a national plan four or five years ago, Australia Cycling. There was almost no financial support that came with the plan... that was someone else's responsibility. It was supposedly administered by the Australian Bicycle Council, and its meeting were largely talk-fests. The plan didn't do much to achieve its targets.

    So... on the one side we have WE, the cyclists who can't agree on standard behavioural training and riding principles, and government on the other who are using cycling to beat their own drum without actually doing anything tangible.

    Who's left?

  7. #7
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Very good points Rowan. I guess I was lucky because when I grew up in Werris Creek in the '80s, they were still teaching us to ride on the road (largely because riding on the footpath was, and I think still is, illegal in NSW). They also taught us the importance of hand-signals, functional brakes and so forth. They also taught us to wear helmets, even though this was before the mandatory helmet law.

    Come to think of it, I wonder just what impact that law has had. I'm sure it was well-intentioned, and I can see the logic behind it. However, I have to wonder whether people haven't simply forgotten about the other things after making sure that everyone wears a helmet (or at least, buys one and carries it with them). And of course, any activity that requires someone to wear a helmet must be extremely dangerous, right?
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  8. #8
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    I don't get the big deal about kids riding on the sidewalk. I mean, it IS safer than riding in the street when you're a kid on a little fixie with coaster brakes. And as those kids grow into teens and if they are interested in cycling to any degree they will automatically WANT to ride on the roads. How the heck can you get anywhere riding on the sidewalks? (Actually, come to think of it, in my area there are many places without any sidewalk so you have no choice. But in any case . . ) The road is 100 times more convenient.

    But as for helmets, it makes me mad when I see grown-ups riding with their kids, but only the KIDS are wearing helmets! What kind of message does that send the kids? Plus, I think riding on the road without a helmet is way too dangerous.

  9. #9
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diggy18
    I don't get the big deal about kids riding on the sidewalk. I mean, it IS safer than riding in the street when you're a kid on a little fixie with coaster brakes. And as those kids grow into teens and if they are interested in cycling to any degree they will automatically WANT to ride on the roads. How the heck can you get anywhere riding on the sidewalks? (Actually, come to think of it, in my area there are many places without any sidewalk so you have no choice. But in any case . . ) The road is 100 times more convenient.
    Diggy, you've just highlighted the problem perfectly. For children under the age of 12, yes, it is too much to expect them to ride on the road. However, when they get older (i.e. old enough to realise the footpath/sidewalk won't take them anywhere, and is actually less safe than the road at the speeds they can now maintain), they still have it pounded into them that "roads are dangerous". Heck, I've even seen posters displaying that message at bike shops!

    So of course, they ride on the footpath, still thinking it's the only option. When they turn 16, they realise that it's a futile course of action. However, instead of riding on the road (because it's still "dangerous"), they just get a car as soon as they can. Then, of course, they drive with the whole "bikes are toys" attitude, and abuse just about every cyclist they ever see who dares to ride on what is now considered "their road".
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  10. #10
    Has opinion, will express
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diggy18
    I don't get the big deal about kids riding on the sidewalk. I mean, it IS safer than riding in the street when you're a kid on a little fixie with coaster brakes. And as those kids grow into teens and if they are interested in cycling to any degree they will automatically WANT to ride on the roads. How the heck can you get anywhere riding on the sidewalks? (Actually, come to think of it, in my area there are many places without any sidewalk so you have no choice. But in any case . . ) The road is 100 times more convenient.
    Sort of like Chris says, but that's why I included the bit about judgment in my posting, and it applies to novice adult riders as well. However, this does not detract from the idea that the principles of Vehicular Cycling, including attentiveness, observation and bike-handling skills as starting points, are as relevant to kids as they are to adults.

    Tell me, how many stories have people told on these forums and elsewhere about how they loved riding their bikes when young, and how they used to roam far and wide (sometimes without their parents' knowledge of their whereabouts)? They all had to negotiate roads at some stage during their riding and they survived (given that they also probably used trails and footpaths as well, and horrified some drivers with their antics).

    I am a product of parental "don't ride on the road, it's dangerous". I was never allowed my own bike as a kid, and the only experience I garnered was riding a neighbour's girl's bike, way way oversize, around my cul-de-sac one weekend. If I wanted to go anywhere, I walked or caught a bus. I didn't own a bike until my early-30s. When I came back to riding seven years ago, I didn't even tell my parents that I was riding trans-Nullarbor until I was well into the trip.

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