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    Kids

    I'm not considering being car-free, but I do have a question for those of you who are. How do manage a car-free life style if you have kids?

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    est'd 1966 tfahrner's Avatar
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    what's the problem?

    we have a 5-year old and have never owned a car. we have an adoption in the works for a 2nd child. we bike everywhere. this is simply not hard at all. probably it matters that we live in portland, oregon. before here it was san francisco (son was born there); before that brooklyn, then boston. we would never choose to live in an area designed with cars in mind -- i.e., developed later than about 1925.

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    I would imagine it would be somewhat more difficult changing to a car free lifestyle after already having kids, than bringing kids into a car free lifestyle.

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    well, i have one kid 92yr old) and car-light. it would be pretty hard-core to go carfree... esp where i live. I could see doing it in an urban area pretty easily though.
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    Besides surfing this part of the forum, a magazine article prompted me to ask the question. A single dad was being interviewed and he said something like " ...since it's just me I have to make a decision whether to lead my kids (all of them on bikes) or follow them."

    If I remember, he chose to lead and was concerned about them making it through intersections and such. That just struck me as a little strange. The article wasn't in-depth enough for me to form an opinion as to if he was just a dude trying to be car-free, or a nut job risking his kid's safety.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
    Besides surfing this part of the forum, a magazine article prompted me to ask the question. A single dad was being interviewed and he said something like " ...since it's just me I have to make a decision whether to lead my kids (all of them on bikes) or follow them."

    If I remember, he chose to lead and was concerned about them making it through intersections and such. That just struck me as a little strange. The article wasn't in-depth enough for me to form an opinion as to if he was just a dude trying to be car-free, or a nut job risking his kid's safety.
    Unless you're in the camp that says cycling is inherently unsafe, how is he risking his children's safety significantly more than driving a car?

    I'm sure he taught his children proper riding technique and tested their skills before going onto the more difficult roads.
    Last edited by bigdufstuff; 02-28-08 at 03:21 PM.

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    est'd 1966 tfahrner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
    If I remember, he chose to lead and was concerned about them making it through intersections and such. That just struck me as a little strange. The article wasn't in-depth enough for me to form an opinion as to if he was just a dude trying to be car-free, or a nut job risking his kid's safety.
    For other than recreational riding, I will pilot the bike my children are aboard (http://bakfietscargo.blogspot.com/20...ping-kids.html) until they reach an age of acceptable judgment to interact with motor traffic. As for nutjobs risking kids' safety, yours and mine, the logic whereby bicycles are deemed more dangerous than cars conveniently oversteps the fact that the vast majority of "bicycle" deaths are in fact car collisions. Cars are demonstrably a greater risk to children's well-being than bicycles, crashes being the leading violent cause of death in children 2-14. Drivers backing over their own kids is the leading violent cause of death not involving crashes: http://www.kidsandcars.org/ (these deaths are classed by the NHTSA not as automotive, but as "pedestrian" which is the same sick victim-blaming whereby bikes are "dangerous").

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    assonfire Heyduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
    Besides surfing this part of the forum, a magazine article prompted me to ask the question. A single dad was being interviewed and he said something like " ...since it's just me I have to make a decision whether to lead my kids (all of them on bikes) or follow them."

    If I remember, he chose to lead and was concerned about them making it through intersections and such. That just struck me as a little strange. The article wasn't in-depth enough for me to form an opinion as to if he was just a dude trying to be car-free, or a nut job risking his kid's safety.
    At least the above single father's children are old enough to ride bikes even if supervised. I'm a single father and I'm only "car light" (this is a funny term to me) because my child is not old enough to ride. The best I can do in this climate is to drive 1 mile to daycare and ride the remaining 8.5 miles to the office and then vice versa. In the summer things loosen up a bit because of daylight and the temps. I can actually tote my 2 year old in a Burley, leave the Burley at daycare and then ride to work. Local weekend trips are no problem because we're never in a hurry. Depending on the public school transportation system once he starts school, I hope to rely on my automobile even less.

    EDIT: It will be my child's decision whether to be carfree (if he has a choice in 15 years). Of course I hope to instill all the virtues and aspects of the lifestyle at a young age.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdufstuff View Post
    Unless you're in the camp that says cycling is inherently unsafe, how is he risking his children's safety significantly more than driving a car?
    I'm sure he taught his children proper riding technique and tested their skills before going onto the more difficult roads.
    I don't know, that's why I said I couldn't form an opinion from the article. I think a kid would need to be pretty old for me not to worry if they were following me in a commuting situation.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
    I don't know, that's why I said I couldn't form an opinion from the article. I think a kid would need to be pretty old for me not to worry if they were following me in a commuting situation.
    My two were commuting with me regularly when my DD was in kindergarten and DS was in first grade. When they got a bit older, and were at different schools DS would ride to the first school with me and DD, then we would leave and head towards my job, he would peel off several blocks before we got to where I was working at the time. He had about 3 blocks of riding in a neighborhood before he got to the school. IIRC he was in the 4th grade by that time. Those were wonderful days...FWIW they are now both in college (DS in grad school) DD has a car but uses it mainly to come home from school on holidays. DS is in grad school in Leeds, UK and is still car free.

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    I have a 7 year old and a 4 year old. We have never owned a car. We just started using bikes as a significant means of transportation last year. Before that we walked and took the bus. When I ride with my kids we take the bike path or side streets. There are a couple of places that we bike on the sidewalk. Most of the time my 7 year old bikes in front of me with instructions on when to stop and shouted advice from me. My four year old rides on a freeloader hitched to my bike. We walk our bikes through tricky intersections rather than riding through them.

    There are quite a few families in my area that bike for transportation in decent weather. The younger ones are usually in a trailer or on a freeloader, or a combination of both. The older ones usually seem to ride in front of their parent. High visibility vests and flags are also commonly used. Generally, they seem bike on the bike paths and less busy side streets.

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    FWIW, by 13 or so, I was riding solo on roads posted 45 mph. No bike lane, no shoulder, and fairly hostile drivers. My dad had checked that I was clear on the rules of the road, could signal turns appropriately, and that I knew how to use routes he considered safe. He'd also checked that I was a well behaved teen biker, so that I wouldn't do something idiotic like try to ride my bike on the sidewalk downtown. He also made sure I knew I *could* call for a SAG if I needed one (and I'd damn well better need one if it got dark because I didn't have lights). I bought a helmet on my own since I'd decided that a head injury was a very real risk, and a head injury was a likely outcome if a car hit me. Once I was old enough, I'd bike to work and get a ride home because I was still a teen and hadn't figured out that I could buy lights for my bike.

    I probably could have had that level of freedom at a younger age, but not a lot younger.

    If I'd had an appropriate (ie, not single speed) bike, at 8 or so, I could have ridden on the road with Dad. The area we lived in had extremely steep hills (18% grade or so just to get to our house), and trying to do that on a single speed with a coaster brake is not safe. Instead, I was confined to certain streets in our development.

    Under more reasonable conditions, kids who are with a parent would be much safer than I was. Most parents are sensible, and would not try to be carfree in the suburbs. In an urban area, traffic is slower, and you always have the option of getting off the bike and bailing for the sidewalk. Often, you have the option of public transit if the kids are too tired.

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    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    We live in a pretty bike friendly town, the kids and I ride where we want to go quite a bit. But they are not capable of riding 5-15 miles to some of their activites, or in the snow. So I still have to car. But rarely use it by myself, and not really that often with them. We structure out activities close to home as possible.
    Not too much to say here

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    We live in a pretty bike friendly town, the kids and I ride where we want to go quite a bit. But they are not capable of riding 5-15 miles to some of their activites, or in the snow. So I still have to car. But rarely use it by myself, and not really that often with them. We structure out activities close to home as possible.
    That is the key! However facilities have an unfortunate tendency to move around here. When my DD first started rec league soccer, the playing and practice fields were all within a 5 mile or so radius of the house. But within a couple of years they built a big facility out in the boonies on the north side of town, almost 15 miles from the house and only accessible off of a 6 lane, non bike friendly roadway.

    Aaron
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    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    That is the key! However facilities have an unfortunate tendency to move around here. When my DD first started rec league soccer, the playing and practice fields were all within a 5 mile or so radius of the house. But within a couple of years they built a big facility out in the boonies on the north side of town, almost 15 miles from the house and only accessible off of a 6 lane, non bike friendly roadway.

    Aaron
    Of all the crazy things the car people do, isn't this the craziest? They put facilities for kids out in the boonies where they're accessible only by car, and every year they cry because an "unavoidable" car crash wiped out a carload of kids, or a kid gets wiped out becuase he was "crazy" enough to walk or cycle to school or the playground.

    It really makes me sick!


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Of all the crazy things the car people do, isn't this the craziest? They put facilities for kids out in the boonies where they're accessible only by car, and every year they cry because an "unavoidable" car crash wiped out a carload of kids, or a kid gets wiped out becuase he was "crazy" enough to walk or cycle to school or the playground.

    It really makes me sick!
    I hate it when municipalities stick these sports facilities out at the edge of town all in one uber-location. They only get used a couple hours a day and are basically useless during the day when all the kids are in school. Why not spread them around town so that the public can use them when they aren't being used by the kiddies?

    I see alot of folks take their kids on public transit with them in the morning. Seems like a reasonable solution to the problem of being a car free family and taking your kids somewhere non-bike friendly.

    That said, you aren't doing your children any favors by shielding them from dangerous situations and complicated decisions. I'm not saying you shouldn't be careful, but at some point they have to learn how to safetly navigate our world with minimal input from the parents and if you prevent them from ever learning that, my opinion is that it hurts them in the long run.* I think this gives children of car free families a big advantage over car-heavy others.

    *I do not have children, nor plans to have children, this is just my own feeling and may in fact be very wrong. Do as you feel is right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Of all the crazy things the car people do, isn't this the craziest? They put facilities for kids out in the boonies where they're accessible only by car, and every year they cry because an "unavoidable" car crash wiped out a carload of kids, or a kid gets wiped out becuase he was "crazy" enough to walk or cycle to school or the playground.

    It really makes me sick!
    Not only that, the kids can't spontaneously go use them by walking or biking, so the kids don't get as much exercise as I did when I rode my bike everywhere. Then we complain about having fat kids.

    One of the minor problems with the soccer fields around here is that the soccer league schedules the fields and kicks the local poor immigrants pickup games off when the carloads of pay to play arrive. I was talking to my daughter about this and her remark was that the latino's who got kicked off would stick around and watch and cheer. She said it was the only time non-parents took any interest in her game. She said it made it more fun to have these guys cheering. The field where this happened was near many affordable housing complexes. It didn't seem fair to me that poor people who really understood the game and walked to their neighborhood field, got kicked off by rich people in SUVs who were only using the game to get their daughters some extra title 9 money for college.

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    This is my favourite picture of a bicycle based 'family car'.



    Wouldn't be at all difficult to provide an electric boost with a hub motor wheel to help out on hills.
    OMNIPOTENS aeterne Deus, qui nos secundum imaginem Tuam plasmasti, et omnia bona, vera, pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta quaesumus ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete factis et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bike2math View Post
    I hate it when municipalities stick these sports facilities out at the edge of town all in one uber-location. They only get used a couple hours a day and are basically useless during the day when all the kids are in school. Why not spread them around town so that the public can use them when they aren't being used by the kiddies?

    I see alot of folks take their kids on public transit with them in the morning. Seems like a reasonable solution to the problem of being a car free family and taking your kids somewhere non-bike friendly.

    That said, you aren't doing your children any favors by shielding them from dangerous situations and complicated decisions. I'm not saying you shouldn't be careful, but at some point they have to learn how to safetly navigate our world with minimal input from the parents and if you prevent them from ever learning that, my opinion is that it hurts them in the long run.* I think this gives children of car free families a big advantage over car-heavy others.

    *I do not have children, nor plans to have children, this is just my own feeling and may in fact be very wrong. Do as you feel is right.
    Must be nice...we don't have mass transit around here, unless you consider a H2 Hummer or Suburban mass transit

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Must be nice...we don't have mass transit around here, unless you consider a H2 Hummer or Suburban mass transit

    Aaron
    No, not when most of them have only one occupant. Nothing mass about that, other than the wasted weight of the vehicle.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    No, not when most of them have only one occupant. Nothing mass about that, other than the wasted weight of the vehicle.
    Yep...that is the mass I was referring to...unless you consider the obesity of the driver

    Aaron
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    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
    I'm not considering being car-free, but I do have a question for those of you who are. How do manage a car-free life style if you have kids?
    skiing, soccer, swimming, preschool, it's just not possible for us to be completely car free without forcing the kids to give up several activities which we deem important to their development.
    I got rid of my car ~four years ago, but we kept one car which my wife uses for errands and getting the kids around. My 5yo, though, does bike commute to school and his mom picks him up via car.
    One Less Car
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Must be nice...we don't have mass transit around here, unless you consider a H2 Hummer or Suburban mass transit

    Aaron
    I have to second this.... we don't even have taxi service here..... and there's like 20k people in the town.
    Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm.

    In response to bicycling being so dangerous: "We could all died today from any number of accidents. I'm not going to stop living to keep from dying." The Northern Tier by Lief Carlsen

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    Quote Originally Posted by charly17201 View Post
    I have to second this.... we don't even have taxi service here..... and there's like 20k people in the town.
    Are you sure there is no taxi service in Chambersburg? I found it hard to believe since I've lived in smaller towns and they had taxi services. So I tried googling it and found that there are a couple businesses that at least claim to be taxi services in Chambersburg, PA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bike2math View Post
    I hate it when municipalities stick these sports facilities out at the edge of town all in one uber-location. They only get used a couple hours a day and are basically useless during the day when all the kids are in school. Why not spread them around town so that the public can use them when they aren't being used by the kiddies?
    It's cheaper that way. Buy some land out on the fringe and drop some rec facilities on it, versus buy out a couple dozen homeowners, raze their houses, and then build a recreation center.

    Not saying that it's RIGHT, but that's the process.

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