Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kids on bikes

While for the average kid in Vienna it is normal to go to school by public transport, the "wealthy" families chauffeur their kids around in huge cars. I really don't understand this concept of bringing the kids after a certain age, especially in a city with such great public transport and short ways. This way they don't get to learn how to use public transport independently, loose touch to their schoolmates, put on weight because they don't get enough exercise and so on. Obesity becomes a bigger and bigger issue anyhow, so why make it worse?

And it can't be because the parents are worried about their kids' safety as most of them don't mind to block bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks directly in front of schools -- making it impossible for pupils to feel safe.

I think a city should be safe enough for kids to ride bikes. And I think parents can achieve that by simply not creating unnecessary car traffic in front of schools. So in fact I think the city already is safe enough, but it's the people that aren't ready for a change. Well, car addiction is certainly not easy to overcome, but they could try to get bike addicted instead. And if they still want to make namby-pambies out of their children, they can bring them by bike too :-).

By the way, kids are allowed to cycle on the sidewalks in Austria till the age of 12. But already at the age of 10 they can do a "bicycle license" which allows them to cycle on the road earlier. That's a great thing because this way the children are taught the traffic rules, hand signals etc. and they also have to pass a practical test. Then they can take responsibility for themselves.

I think mobile autonomy is far too underrated. To make a long story short: relying on someone (or something) else to get to and from places is just no fun. But cycling is :-).


Anonymous said...

Yes, but then parents couldn't parade around in the latest SUV to show how rich, busy and succesful they are. Which shows what good parents they are, making sure their children are cared for, supplied with all their needs, and most of all protected by a big metal box.
Setting this example for children to follow is of course more important than livability and the safety of other people's children- Besides, if those parents cared they would drive their kids to school as well.
I think that's the argument anyway. And no, it doesn't make sense. ;)

Anonymous said...

PS: Great pictures. I'm glad I'm not the only parent letting my kids ride without a helmet.

Velouria said...

I did not know that children here can cycle on the road starting at age 10 -- cool!

l' homme au velo said...

If you go anywhere in Ireland on the Weekdays in the Mornings and Early Afternoons you will find the Roads all Blocked up with Parents Delivering their Children to and from Schools in SUV's 4+4s Mostly and very few Actually Walking or Cycling to School. A New Phenomenon is after School around 4pm after their Meals the Children get Chauffeured to the Playgrounds in the Local Park in Cars and SUV's.

This is not a Posh Area Just Working Class so all the People are Locals .Living within a 1-3 Kilometre Area and could easily Walk or Cycle to the Park.

Anonymous said...

Besides the horse carriages, One of the most memorable sights that greeted me during my visit to Vienna was the bicycle kids, parents, working adults on bikes.I even named my first son "Wien" to commemorate my visit to this wonderful city...what a beautiful place to cycle...Too bad, not everyone think the same.

Alston Kane said...

Very interesting and informative blog and about the kids bikes I must appreciate your work well done keep it up.

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