Inspiring Video!

Hi Readers! Even as the school board in Saratoga grudgingly allows kids to bike to middle school if they follow a bunch of rules, a bunch of kids in Orlando, Florida just decided: Let’s ride!

Here’s their story and a great video of them — especially if you like Bob Dylan soudntracks. As the accompanying article says, “The bike bus isn’t something that was initiated by grown-ups; it was conceived and executed by the kids. It’s a powerful demonstration of the positive influence that young people can have on each other. Maybe they’ll influence some adults too.”

Riding bikes to school has become the cool thing to do — not to mention fun. It’s like a caravan: kids can join as they see the group go by. Ride on! — Lenore  (who thanks Sharon Wynne of the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Bay Online for sending it in)

16 Responses

  1. Yay for good news out of Florida!

  2. it’s amazing that this is news. good news, to be sure, but it shouldn’t even be out of the ordinary.

  3. the bike Bus! I love it. I’m going to tell my 4th grader about it. He rides every day (by himself). I’m sure he’d like to ride with some other kids. School provides bike rack outside and scooter rack inside.

  4. It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.

  5. ugh…occupying a lane and impeding traffic… That’s not sharing the road, it’s occupying it…

    yeah! Riding a bike to school!

  6. Love the biking. Portland is a great place for it. There are times when there are so many bikes – in the bike lanes – that it holds up car traffic!

    My 7 yr old kid and I rode across town in the brisk 20 degree morning. It’s great to hear about others journeys.

  7. Yikes. Orlando is the most dangerous city to walk or ride bikes in.

    The statistics and my own experience back me up.

  8. The kids speak of how much more freedom and fun this is than the school bus. They actually enjoy getting up and coming to school now! They also say they are more alert and their grades are better from the morning exercise. In addition, they’re learning the law, the rules of the road, to be better drivers when they do drive cars and they’re taking on civic leadership helping other kids do this.

    Gregg,

    Yeah, kinda like the school bus impedes traffic while stopped for several minutes to pick up 20 or 30 kids at each bus stop along that road.

    Its all perspective. Car-culture bias says 15 kids on bikes are less relevant traffic than a couple single-occupant motor vehicles behind them. What’s the alternative? That they ride on the edge of that narrow lane like second-class road rats and let the SUVs squeeze by and clip them with their mirrors? … to save those drivers a tender 30 seconds.

    The beautiful thing about kids is you don’t have to deprogram them from the inferiority nonsense. They’re safer because of that. They’ll change the culture because of that. If we let them.

    Cavale,

    Orlando is dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists that act like rolling pedestrians (2/3 of bike v car crashes involve sidewalk cyclists). It’s not dangerous for bicyclists who use the road like legitimate vehicle drivers. That is fully supported in our crash statistics. And my 2 decades of urban riding in this city.

  9. Thank you, Lenore. That was quite uplifting.

  10. The invention of the safety bicycle in the late 19th century transformed social mobility and our potential world view more than any other single item in the industrial revolution. Suddenly anybody could travel way beyond the next village, marry outside the immediate walking range of a teenager, and see much of the world physical and mental hitherto simply out of range. The resistance in some quarters to the use of the bicycle by the young is very interesting, if not actually quite disturbing when seen in this historical context. What are these narrow, blinkered control freaks actually saying in their opposition to bicycle use? And worse, trying to enforce! Might I suggest some misplaced notion of safety is little more than a smoke screen for social insecurity and xenophobia (in its true sense) which they themselves probably don’t even identify.
    It is one thing to control small children, still learning their way in the world with misplaced overprotection. It is quite a bit more sinister in its connotation for young adults. My grandfather was an apprentice printer at 14. Another relative was a Lancaster pilot in charge of six other men (boys) and a kazillion pounds worth of aircraft at 20 in a life and death situation night after night. Most of the conscripted militia who fought the Japanese, out numbered substantially, to a halt in New Guinea were 18 and 19. Fill a set of forms and abide all manner of overbearing rules at 15, 16, 17 as most of the cyclists in the video obviously are? Good on you guys! Ignore the wowzer killjoy control freaks for what they are!

    For those interested in cycling as transport, a piece on ABC Radio National’s ‘Background Briefing’ may well be of interest to readers. The Australian Broadcasting Corp is our equivalent of PBS, CBC or BBC, a justifiably highly exalted public broadcaster. Background Briefing is a weekly one hour investigative radio program which has received numerous international awards. Having set the context, this past week’s program (6 December) examines many of the road user issues we all deal with every day. Although specifically Australian in detail (you guys ride on the wrong side of the road for example..) it is, highly applicable to any car centric culture. North American readers/listeners will find much which is very familiar. Well worth a listen.

    It is free and streamable/podcastable and just under an hour long with no commercial breaks.

    On Road Cycling, Background Briefing, ABC Radio National, 6 Dec 09
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/backgroundbriefing/stories/2009/2758349.htm

    pw

  11. “Its all perspective. Car-culture bias says 15 kids on bikes are less relevant traffic than a couple single-occupant motor vehicles behind them. What’s the alternative? That they ride on the edge of that narrow lane like second-class road rats and let the SUVs squeeze by and clip them with their mirrors? … to save those drivers a tender 30 seconds.”

    The alternative is that they actually obey the rules of the road for cyclists, rather than leisurly cycling and occupying an entire lane by riding side by side.

    It would of course help if the city installed bike lanes.

  12. @sky

    The issue of their riding double is addressed in the comments on the article. It appears in their locality to be perfectly legal. Here is what was said:

    “The law is “no more than 2-abreast.” They’re allowed to ride double:

    The rule to ride single file only applies to roads on which a single rider can operate side-by-side with a motor vehicle (i.e. a lane 14 ft or wider, or a road with a bike lane). A single cyclist (or single line of cyclists) is entitled to the full use of a lane less than 14 ft wide, therefore it makes no difference in the flow of traffic for riders to be 2-abreast. In many cases it actually facilitates overtaking by reducing in half the distance needed to pass.

    Additionally, 2-abreast riders do not impede traffic if: (the below applies to any width lane with or without the presence of a bike lane)

    * on a multi-lane road – motorists can pass in the next lane over
    * on a road with a center two-way left turn lane in which motorists can pass
    * there is sparse oncoming traffic and motorists can safely use the oncoming lane to pass
    * the cyclists are traveling at or near the speed limit
    * the cyclists are traveling at or near the speed of traffic”

  13. Thanks. I didn’t see that part of the article.

  14. Great story and love that the kids took the initiative to make this happen, but I really wish they were wearing helmets!

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