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  1. #1
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    How's that VC working out for school kids?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19750027/

    Sorry but they say that reprinting is prohibited, but here are some quotes:
    ATLANTA - Fewer than half of American children who live close to school regularly walk or ride a bike to classes, according to a new study that highlights a dramatic shift toward car commuting by kids.

    ...

    In 1969, about 90 percent of kids who lived within a mile of school walked or rode bikes to get there. In 2004, just 48 percent did that at least one day a week, the new study found.

    ...

    The researchers didn’t ask why so many children were driven to school, but possible explanations include parental attitudes about exercise and concerns about safety, Martin said.

    Also, many suburban and rural areas are built without sidewalks, good crosswalks or other safety features, several experts said.

    Older urban communities have the most walking and biking children, at least partly because they were built with pedestrians in mind. But newer communities — like many in the South — were designed around the car, and may lack continuous sidewalks or safe crosswalks, Frank said.

    ...

    Liz Hansen, a Lawrenceville, Ga., mother of a 19-year-old college student, recalled that when her son was young, the family lived just two blocks from his elementary school. But she usually drove him because she worried for his safety.

    Later, her son — Ryan — lived less than a mile from his high school, but he didn’t like to walk or even ride the bus. “It was uncool,” she said.
    Also, check the poll. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19751966/
    30% would not let their kids ride to school.

    So, what does Vehicular Cycling have to say about this trend? This trend that certainly has been going on for a while and will likely have effects that follow these kids well into adulthood.
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  2. #2
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    hmm, i think communities that have enacted a "Safe Streets" policy have increased bicycling to schools.

    safe streets initiatives includes bike specific infrastructure.

    VC as an ideology is completely lousy as a way of encouraging families to let kids ride bicycles to schools.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  3. #3
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    That VC crowd sure has some 'splaining to do. First they started all this global warming and now they're forcing all the parents to drive their kids to school. I'm pretty sure the VCers are also the reason ny tomatoes won't ripen and my garage door opens every time the kid next door plays a G chord on his electric guitar. I bet they're tied in with those Al Qaida *******s too!

    What can us real cyclists do to stop the VC conspiracy? Oh I know....let's make up lots of stupid accusations and post them on the internet. That always works!


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  4. #4
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    To me, the issue of biking to school has little to do with the VC debate. The infrastructure in the area I grew up in - at least the portions with the residences and elementary schools - has not changed significantly between 1969 and 2004. I suspect this is the case for most residential areas that existed in 1969. Yet walking and cycling to school has dropped significantly. This has more to do with other factors such as fear of child abduction, two parents both working, etc., than it does with bicycle-specific infrastructure.

  5. #5
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    In 1969, 90 % of kids who lived less than a mile from school either walked or cycled. Yet in 1969 there was no bike-specific infrastructure. In 2004, when there's lots of bike-specific infrastructure, only 48 % of the kids biked or walked. By what passes for logic on this forum, this PROVES that bike-specific infrastructure has reduced bike riding by almost half.

    Of course my conclusion is nonsense. There are many factors that may account for this decreased activity of schoolchildren. It's very unlikely that bike-specific infrastructure is one of those factors.

    But this very well may be the goofiest thing I've read since Cheney's recent explanation of which branch of government he's in. Thanks for the amusing moment, Diane and especially Bekologist!


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  6. #6
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    umm, the groups that collectively comprise the Safe Routes to School national partnership and Bikes Belong both disagree with your hypothesis, roody.

    and isn't the vc party line concerning kids bicycling about educating 8 year olds to ride better in traffic than 95 percent of bicyclists in just 3 short classes or some other nonsense?
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  7. #7
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    umm, the safe routes to school national partnership and bikes belong both disagree with your hypothesis, roody.

    But I don't have a hypothesis. The causal link between vehicular cycling and children being driven is so weak that any hypothesis based on it could only be laughable. My own personal experience reminds me that, like 90 per cent of my classmates in the 1960s, I rode or walked to school even though we had no bike lanes.

    But this thing is so absurd, you must see that!

    For starters, how many eight year olds have even heard of vehicular cycling? And how many parents are thinking, "We'd like our little Jimmy to ride his bike to school....but if he rides on the sidewalk, the VC police will ship us to an Effective Cycling Re-education Camp and we'll be forced to listen to John Forester on the loudspeakers for 20 hours a day until we are begging to drink the Koolaid."

    Last edited by Roody; 07-16-07 at 11:43 PM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  8. #8
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist

    and isn't the vc party line concerning kids bicycling about educating 8 year olds to ride better in traffic than 95 percent of bicyclists in just 3 short classes or some other nonsense
    ?
    Well if they say that, they're just as silly as you guys!


    Come to think of it, though, I could teach an 8 year old to ride better in traffic than 95 percent of adult cyclists in 2 minutes. But that's because 95 percent of adults cannot ride in traffic at all!


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  9. #9
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    effective cycling reeducation camp, mandatory for bicycling as a competant bicyclist

    you REALLY thought my original post to this thread caused an 'amusing moment' ?

    Quote Originally Posted by me
    hmm, i think communities that have enacted a "Safe Streets" policy have increased bicycling to schools.

    safe streets initiatives includes bike specific infrastructure.

    VC as an ideology is completely lousy as a way of encouraging families to let kids ride bicycles to schools.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  10. #10
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    effective cycling reeducation camp, mandatory for bicycling as a competant bicyclist

    you REALLY thought my original post to this thread caused an 'amusing moment
    ' ?
    Yeah, and Diane's conclusion that VC is responsible for the kids being lardasses (a condition that may haunt them for the rest of their lives) was a helluva gutbuster!
    Tickled my ribs? Damn near fractured them from laughing so hard!

    Every time you take the lane you kill a little kid!


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  11. #11
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Lets see, in 1969 there were no bike lanes and no bike lane advocates telling everyone the roads were dangerous to ride in. Lots of kids cycled to school!

    Once bike lanes started to be built and the bike lane advocates started telling everyone the roads were dangerous to ride in, fewer kids each year were riding their bikes to school.

    Pretty clear correlation:
    more bike lanes = less kids cycling to school

  12. #12
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Diane, thanks again for pointing out the problems of bike lanes.
    My suburb town and ILTB's town do not have bike lanes. I guess that is why our towns still have lots of kids cycling to school.
    Not so many kids cycle to school in Honolulu proper, where the bike lanes are.
    Last edited by CB HI; 07-17-07 at 12:33 AM.

  13. #13
    JRA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    There are many factors that may account for this decreased activity of schoolchildren. It's very unlikely that bike-specific infrastructure is one of those factors.
    I agree. I'd argue that neither VC ideology nor bike infrastructure has much to do with the decrease in the percentage of schoolchildren who either walk or ride a bicycle to school.


    Quote Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
    To me, the issue of biking to school has little to do with the VC debate. The infrastructure in the area I grew up in - at least the portions with the residences and elementary schools - has not changed significantly between 1969 and 2004. I suspect this is the case for most residential areas that existed in 1969...
    Indeed, the infrastructure in the area where I grew up is essentially the same today as it was in the 1960s, and the nature of the neighborhood has not changed a whole lot, either. And, yet, I'd venture to guess that a lot fewer children ride or walk to school today.

    I pretty much always rode a bicycle or walked to school. If I remember grade school correctly, that was the norm, especially in the early grades. I remember there was a room where we kept our bikes-- and there were a lot of bikes. Most of those who didn't ride, walked. Kids who got rides to school were considered a little strange-- I know that sounds strange today, but that's how it was.

    When I was in kintergarten, I think I problably walked. By first grade, I was riding a bicycle-- on the sidewalk. I was taught (mostly by my older brother) how to ride on the sidewalk-- how to always yield to pedestrians and always stop and look both ways before crossing a street. I rode alone on the sidewalk and never had a problem. At some point, my brother taught me to ride in the street.

    I rode to school all through grade school and junior high (they call them 'middle schools' these days). I doubt my parents gave me ten rides to or from school my entire life (and most of the ten rides I got were when I was sick or injured and one of my parents came to give me a ride home). It wasn't that my parents couldn't have given me a ride to school (there was usually a car sitting in the garage); they simply didn't believe in it. I mean they really didn't believe in it. They even frowned on me getting a ride with somebody else (which is why I almost never did).

    In junior high, the bike racks were pretty full on good days. When it was cold and there was snow on the ground, my bicycle was often the only one-- yep, I rode, rain or snow.

    When I went to high school, I found out that riding a bicycle wasn't 'cool', so I walked. I really liked walking and many times refused rides that were offered to me. Even though I didn't ride to school, I often rode after school-- I walked home so I could ride my bike.

    I spent a good deal of my childhood on a bicycle.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is that the reason I either rode or walked to school was my parents' attitude. They truly believed that I should get to and from school on my own power. Back then, that attitude might not have been the norm, but it wasn't all that unusual.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  14. #14
    genec genec's Avatar
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    So what has changed since 1969?

    Well where and when I went to school and rode my bike... back then we had bike rodeos. I don't see those anymore.

    Traffic has increased.

    Speed limits have gone up.

    There is no bike infrastructure now where I grew up.

    Only more traffic and no more bike rodeos. Who knows VC might have worked fine... if the bike rodeos continued... but for some reason, this aspect of education stopped.

  15. #15
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    This has nothing to do with VC? Your High Holiness of VC works for an organization that promotes the World's Greatest Invention and believes that organizing our transportation network around the almighty automobile is all that is needed for cycling. And the article I pointed out shows the dandy results of that kind of policy.

    So how's that working out for kids? And what can VC say to all these people who don't ride bikes two fecking blocks to school?
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  16. #16
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    I think Diane was asking what the VC solution would be for that situation, not accusing VCers of causing it.
    Last edited by rando; 07-17-07 at 09:26 AM.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  17. #17
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Diane, you appear to be denigrating the idea of kids operating bicycles according to vehicular rules. One would be tempted to conclude, then, that you advocate that kids operate bikes in some way contrary to vehicular rules. This of course is a terrible idea, and one that I will try to insulate my own son from when I teach him to drive his bicycle according to the rules of the road.

    Perhaps, rather than attacking operation consistent with vehicular rules, you mean to attack changes in the physical infrastructure of communities, or perhaps the culture that seems to have lost interest in bicycling. Well, vehicular cycling advocates have been working for years to maintain pleasant, convenient roadway links between residences and schools, as well as good sidewalks for pedestrians and the occasional off-road greenway link. I have promoted numerous such projects and have friends who now bike to school with their children on streets and off-road bike paths that we approved on our Cary planning and zoning board. An example is the Buckhurst West subdivision, with a short-cut path to Northwoods Elementary school.

    We cycling advocates have faced strong opposition from school systems to bike path access to schools, bike parking at schools, school policies allowing bicycling to schools, good low-speed street connectivity to schools, and close proximity between schools and neighborhoods. The school systems believe that children shouldn't be biking to school because they believe cycling to be inherently dangerous, and they don't try to site schools near neighborhoods because they want huge amounts of land for athletic fields and major arterial access for busing and motoring. I have personally worked with parents who have been trying to overturn school bans on bicycling to school. To accuse vehicular cycling advocates of detracting from bicycling to school is wildly innaccurate and needlessly insulting.

    Good proximity between schools and neighborhoods, good street connectivity, wide pavement on busy roads, safe speed limits around schools, traffic bicycling education programs, sidewalks for pedestrians, good law enforcement, short cut paths where appropriate - these are vehicular-cycling-compatible strategies that many vehicular cycling advocates promote to encourage cycling and walking to school. The non-VC strategy would be to promote signing sidewalks for bicycling, and adding stripes to roadways to separate bicycle traffic from other vehicle traffic, as an effort to market cycling to those whose travel isn't made any safer by such markings. Well, as an engineer who is bound by a high standard of ethics, I find the superior approach to be abundantly apparent.

  18. #18
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri
    Perhaps, rather than attacking operation consistent with vehicular rules, you mean to attack changes in the physical infrastructure of communities, or perhaps the culture that seems to have lost interest in bicycling. Well, vehicular cycling advocates have been working for years to maintain pleasant, convenient roadway links between residences and schools, as well as good sidewalks for pedestrians and the occasional off-road greenway link.
    Steve, I think she is attacking the "VC guru" and his association with an organization that promotes "changes in the physical infrastructure of communities" favoring the automobile.

    While smooth safe roadways should be all one needs for cycling... the aforementioned organization promotes high speed roadways with nothing slowing down motorists. (they tout 50-60MPH roadways in their mission statements).

    Do you promote 50-60MPH roadways as beneficial for cyclists? (I know you don't... ) Would you associate with an organization that seeks high speed uninhibited roadways for motorists, as part of your cycling advocacy?

  19. #19
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Steve, I think she is attacking the "VC guru" and his association with an organization that promotes "changes in the physical infrastructure of communities" favoring the automobile.

    While smooth safe roadways should be all one needs for cycling... the aforementioned organization promotes high speed roadways with nothing slowing down motorists. (they tout 50-60MPH roadways in their mission statements).

    Do you promote 50-60MPH roadways as beneficial for cyclists? (I know you don't... ) Would you associate with an organization that seeks high speed uninhibited roadways for motorists, as part of your cycling advocacy?
    If Diane wants to pick on John Forester, by all means, she should call him out. If she wants to bash a particular pro-motoring organization, she should do so.

    But that is not what she wrote in the OP. She implicated vehicular cycling - the idea that cyclists should operate according to vehicular rules and that traffic engineers, motorists, and police should expect cyclists to follow vehicular rules - for reducing bicycling and walking to school.

    The expectation and acceptance that school children should and will operate bicycles according to vehicular rules on the roads that serve the school has the effect of encouraging better school siting, lower speed limits, better street design, and better street topology. These things in turn encourage cycling to school. The rejection of vehicular cycling is usually what results in the most unpleasant roadway infrastructure for cycling.

  20. #20
    JRA
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    VC-ism is not to blame for the current situation.

    But, if the question is whether VC-ism has an answer, I'm pretty sure it doesn't.

    I strongly suspect that, if you asked, the VC-ist brain trust would say that they don't know how to teach young children how to ride safely on the sidewalk.

    If that's indeed what they'd say, that's pathetic. My brother knew how to do it. It's a real weakness of VC education if they can't teach something as simple as that.

    The VC education know-it-alls would probably also tell you that they can't teach anyone how to ride on a MUP (heck, John Forester even claims that there are no rules of the road on a MUP- what a hoot!). Instead, VC-ists teach group riding and pacelining-- real usefull stuff for rules of the road cycling-- Whew, boy! --and they find nothing funny in any of this.

    Learning how to ride safely on the sidewalk was an essential part of my cycling education. While I wouldn't call a cyclist incompetent if they don't ride on the sidewalk, I would call someone who claims to be a cycling teacher a poser if they can't teach the simple but important stuff my brother taught me.

    Existing VC education programs are half-assed because they don't teach safe sidewalk riding. For ideological reasons, they don't teach important stuff. Do they have so little faith in the greater efficency of vehicular cycling? My brother didn't have that problem. After he had taught me to ride safely on the sidewalk, it didn't take long for him to convince me that riding on the road was the way to go.

    I know this is heresy but it would be more effective, especially for young riders, to teach sidewalk riding first and then point out the inefficiencies. It sure worked for me.

    But, hey, nobody but John Forester knows anything.

    My brother must have been an anti-motorist .

    Or maybe a motorist.

    Or surely a member of some other group John Forester dislikes (which, if you've been paying attention, includes just about everybody).
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  21. #21
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I sincerely doubt the VC platform has done that, steve. what a twist of logic. sophistry.

    it is the efforts of Safe routes to School, Complete Streets, and Bikes Belong that has been working on that front to improve cycling and pedestrian access to schools, not VC education programs.

    sorry. not buying it.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  22. #22
    JRA
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri
    To accuse vehicular cycling advocates of detracting from bicycling to school is wildly innaccurate and needlessly insulting.
    To the contrary. To the extent that VC-ists have claimed that sidewalk riding is inherently unsafe and refused to teach young children how to ride safely on the sidewalk, the claim is right on-- a perfect bulls-eye.

    I know that doesn't fit with VC dogma but, hey, VC dogma sucks.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  23. #23
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Well, all you Adaptive Cycling folks need to remember your own cycling principles. Kids, to have safe fun on bikes, need to be able to ride in accordance with the facilities and situations within their communities. If they will be riding on streets, they need to know VC principles. If riding on sidewalks, they need to know the pedestrian rules. In any case, they at least need to know how to cross streets safely and they need to have the self-discipline to avoid mid-block rideouts, a big cause of injuries to kids.

    Four weeks ago I saw a father (presumably) teaching his 5 year old son to ride safely in the street. (I don't know the kid's exact age, but he looked like he just got off training wheels.) When I saw them, dad was showing the boy how to approach a stop sign on a quiet residential street. He was telling the kid to come up in about the right-wheel track, and stop completely, and look "left, right, front, back." Obviously a 5 year old is not ready to ride alone on streets. But by the time this kid is 8 or 9, he will definitely know the basics and will be able to cross streets safely, and ride alone on residential ltreets and even on sidewalks on busier streets.

    Off-street facilities are great for children. AFAIK, no cyclist (regardless of "orientation") would advocate against them in school areas. However, unless the bike path goes directly from the students' homes to the school--without crossing any streets or driveways--the kid obviously needs to know at least the rudiments of vehicular cycling.

    As even Diane and Bek know, there is no system but VC for safely and legally riding in streets. Granted, many younger children use pedestrian rules on bike paths and sidewalks, and this is adequate or preferable to VC in many cases. Each parent can determine the style they want their children to use, given child's age and maturity, local conditions and parental comfort levels. But eventually, older children (say 10 to 12 y.o.) are going to ride in the streets. By that time, they must have training in vehicular cycling if they're to be safe.

    So what can cycling advocates do in order to encourage kids to ride to school? I would advocate a two-prong approach:

    -First, local infrastructure should be made safer for children. This might include bike facilities in some neighborhoods, but in many communities all you need is stop signs, crosswalks and/or traffic calming.

    -Second, children should be trained or educated about safe riding that is relevant to the conditions within their local community--whether those conditions include bike facilities, street riding or sidewalks, or even BMX- and MTB-style riding. Like adults, kids need to know how to handle the variety of situations that they'll encounter on their bikes.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  24. #24
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRA
    To the contrary. To the extent that VC-ists have claimed that sidewalk riding is inherently unsafe and refused to teach young children how to ride safely on the sidewalk, the claim is right on-- a perfect bulls-eye.

    I know that doesn't fit with VC dogma but, hey, VC dogma sucks
    .
    I agree, except I'm not aware of cases where "VC-ists" actually refused to teach young children to ride on sidewalks. Most of the VC literature I've read implies that sidewalk riding is outside the realm of VC, but I've never read that it's inherently bad, especially for children. Would you mind pointing me in the direction of VC writers who have made this claim?

    My own opinion is that sidewalk riding is preferable for young children. Since young brains are less developed, and little kids don't ride much faster than adults walk, pedestrian cycling is appropriate. At a certain age, they can begin riding on streets, starting with calm residential streets. At some point they will have the maturity to learn how to ride on busier streets just like we adults do. Once kids (or anybody) starts riding in streets they do need to learn and aply VC principles.
    Last edited by Roody; 07-17-07 at 10:22 AM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  25. #25
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    I sincerely doubt the VC platform has done that, steve. what a twist of logic. sophistry.

    it is the efforts of Safe routes to School, Complete Streets, and Bikes Belong that has been working on that front to improve cycling and pedestrian access to schools, not VC education programs.

    sorry. not buying it
    .
    How or why would being a VC rider prevent one from also advocating for safe routes to school?

    What twist of logic leads you to believe that the two are incompatible?
    Last edited by Roody; 07-17-07 at 11:10 AM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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