My friend Janet Lafleur wrote a sweet story for the Mountain View (CA) Voice about family cycling. Most reader comments were positive, but there’s one in every crowd — the one who believes biking with children on a low-speed street such as Castro Street in Mountain View constitutes “child endangerment” and parents who bike with their children should be arrested.
Just two days later, a major car crash in the Central Valley city of Lodi killed three siblings, a pregnant mother and two other adults. Car collisions are a leading cause of death for children in the United States. Over 1200 children younger than 14 will be killed as occupants in motor vehicle crashes this year. About 170,000 children are injured each year.
In the meantime, researchers at MIT finds that vehicle emissions kill 58,000 people every year, and we already know car exhaust is linked to brain damage and pediatric asthma.
Who’s endangering whom?
More carnage below.
I’ve tracked 18 traffic fatalities in California as of Thursday morning. Fatalities in the San Francisco Bay Area include this overturned vehicle in Contra Costa County and this pedestrian fatality this morning in Santa Rosa.
Murph just pinged me to let me know the Santa Rosa pedestrian fatality was a woman walking across the parking lot after she drove to the gym to ride a stationary bicycle. Somebody forward that news item to Earl Blumenauer.
Pedestrian killed Monday night in San Jose.
Judge dismisses lawsuit against city of Santa Rosa after a four year old child killed by hit-and-run driver.
Ramona Turner reminds us to watch for deer on the highways through the Santa Cruz Mountains. I know a couple of people near my home who’ve slammed full speed into deer while bicycling, so this advice applies to cyclists as well.
$35 million for smart detour signs to redirect Highway 101 traffic through Redwood City, CA in the event of a traffic stopping incident. Caltrans also spent $80 million for similar signs along I-80 through the East Bay and $21 million in San Joaquin County.
Right turn from the left lane.
Ignorance = Dangerous
What can you say when people believe this: “Your notion of reducing speed limits to reduce bicycle deaths is ignorant, selfish, and typical of your entitled generation.”
Life is an entitlement?
The real endangerment is not riding with your kids and teaching them what they need to know someday when they leave your care. There is much to learn about how to ride defensively and strategically, and who else will teach them. The analogy would be not teaching your kids to drive because driving is dangerous. In Holland, kids start learning and riding with their parents at a very young age, and by the time they are like 7 their urban bike skills would put most US adult riders to shame. The best way to endanger you kids is don’t teach them any skills or give them any knowledge.
There is a common, if not prevalent feeling from the non-cycling public that biking “in traffic” (as opposed to recreational biking on trails in parks) is dangerous – and to do so with children is not only dangerous but constitutes negligence on the behalf of the parent(s). When child experts support that attitude, it’s difficult to combat against it. See: Is IsBiking With Your Child an Unnecessary Risk?
Driving is plenty dangerous, and being a pedestrian is also. By the same logic then, one could say that simply having them leave the house at all is negligence. People do live that way, paralyzed by fear. They home school, work from home, order groceries online. Many who continue this lifestyle will eventually succumb to heart disease, diabetes, depression, or suicide. I’ve heard people say “well what about a stationary bike in your house”. Great, then maybe if they set it by the window and concentrate really hard they might imagine what its like to ride outside and really live your life, instead of just existing.