Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bicycle Safety Makes the two cents.

I found this over at KTVN:

And for the record I know they are trying to do a good thing with this article....however, I will argue almost the entire thing isn't really relevant to bicycle safety for kids. 

Unfortunately, this type of article does little to help with's really just telling us that the child shares the blame if something were to happen.

For instance, the quote below:

Sgt. Marlene Cleveland stresses the fact that once you are on the street as a bike rider, you are acting like a car. For that reason, all of the normal traffic laws must be followed, or riders could potentially face fines.
Is this really a statement that's appropriate for school aged children riding to school (who are mostly below the age of 16 and have never had drivers education)!  If you break a traffic law (which you've never been taught) you will be fined.  At this point any parent considering letting a child ride will probably nix riding to school.

Quote #2:

Cleveland says most accidents happen when both bicyclist or a driver isn't paying attention.

Again, we're talking about kids here, not an adult cyclist.  Kids don't always have the presence of mind or intellectual awareness to constantly evaluate their environment for hazards!  The driver is always an adult and navigating a 4000 lb vehicle capable of killing a person if improperly handled.  The adult needs to be the one paying attention, plain and simple when children are present.  It's one of the definitions of being the adult.

Quote #3:
Sgt. Cleveland stresses the importance of wearing a helmet, and wearing brighter clothes because it'll make you more visible.
Helmets are great....I wear one 99% of the time I ride.  There are definitely certain collision situations where they help.  They also make you safer if you wear one while driving.  Strange that this is never a talking point!? 

And wearing bright colors is also great.  It might just help a driver see a kid riding in a bike lane.  We should probably all drive brightly colored cars too.  No one ever suggests this to drivers....

The reason no one suggests either of these things to drivers, is that it would take some of the fun out of driving or selecting a car.  Statements like this also predisposition us to put more blame on the kid on a bike because he wasn't wearing blaze orange and sporting a helmet, which isn't cool.

Quote #4:

Don't swerve in and out of traffic, avoid distractions, and take your time.
Again....they are kids.  They might not be masters of the two wheeled balancing act and will swerve from time to time (its not in their control).  Distractions....really, a kid riding a bike is concentrating to ride the bike.  They probably aren't the ones who are texting or talking on the phone while moving.  And finally, a kid on a bike is not a tour de france rider....they are always taking their time,  unlike the parent who is late to pick up their child from school.

So really, none of these safety tips are for children.  These are safety tips for adult riders.

The reality is this article should be framed as a reminder and warning to drivers that school is starting up and there will be an increasing number of kids biking and walking to school.  They should be reminding drivers that kids, "are kids" and may not have their own best interests at heart, so watch out for the little buggers!

Anyway, like I said.  My two cents.

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