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Old 01-05-11, 11:20 PM   #1
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"Bicycle training in the Netherlands" Different Education Emphasis Over There

"....Every year in April some 200,000 school children in the Netherlands take a "Verkeersexamen" (traffic test). The 12 year olds will start secondary school in the following school year. An overwhelming majority of these children will get to secondary school on their bicycles. Rides of up to 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) one way are no exception. In an effort to make traffic safer the children have been taught about traffic rules since they were very young. Now it is time for their final test.

In this video some images of the practical test in Utrecht: a 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) long bike ride though normal traffic. The children are being monitored and those who pass the test receive a "Verkeersdiploma" (traffic certificate). This year some lucky children in 's-Hertogenbosch got the certificate from the hands of the Netherlands' future queen, Princess Máxima, who opened this year's test season. With her presence she underlined the importance the Dutch give to children's traffic safety and education...."

Here in the United States, I never heard of anything approaching this level of child safety. We concentrate on scaring children straight to avoid strangers, drugs, and even life, but nothing positive like this education in living and coping positively in an increasing crowded world.
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Old 01-06-11, 12:03 AM   #2
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The horror! Not one child was wearing a helmet.

One can only dream of a cycling atmosphere like that here in the US.
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Old 01-06-11, 12:49 AM   #3
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Believe it or not, American school children were once taught how to negotiate traffic on their bikes in elementary school, too. Though it wasn't as comprehensive as the Dutch program, I can remember being taught bike safety in my elementary school in the 1970's. It included discussion of traffic laws and identifying potential hazards, a couple of films, and a final test administered on the playground by local police officers. The police officers even registered our bikes while they were there. At the school where I currently teach, we had a "bike rodeo" last spring, where we did much the same thing, but it was all at once and after school, and a bit rushed; given the recent emphasis on testing, there is no way we have the luxury to teach about bike safety during the school day. And, to be honest, very few kids, maybe 10, actually ride their bikes to school. Some kids who live less than eight blocks away will actually wait up to 30 minutes for a parent to pick them up, no kidding...
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