By now, most everyone is aware the school is back in session and you’ve likely seen many articles in local papers reminding people of this fact. Most of these articles, as they should be, will be targeted at reminding motorists to slow down, obey the school zones, and be patient with the school buses. In the same manner, cyclists should also be more diligent. Aside from being mindful in school zones and groups of kids waiting at the edge of the road for a bus. It’s this last group I really want to focus on.
As I pass many groups of kids in the morning, I’m reminded of one afternoon when I joined a fellow cyclists to pick up his daughter from childcare. As he was inside getting his daughter ready, I waited by the bikes standing next to the fence for the playground. Before I knew it, I had a small group of kids congregated around me, peppering me with questions about biking and telling me their own bicycle stories. It really made me wonder what happens to our enthusiasm for bicycles as we get older and I began pondering what we could do to help kids keep their interest in cycling.
So what can we do? Well, I would propose that we all make an effort to interact with this groups of kids waiting for the bus. Just a friendly wave or a hello as you pass might be enough to make them stop and think, why am I waiting for this bus when I could be riding my bike to school. The motorists sure aren’t going to slow down enough to greet these kids, so why don’t we cyclists step up to the plate and help make these kids know they are important as well.
I had a great interaction this morning. As I approached one particular group of kids, I could see them pumping their arms trying to get the passing cars and trucks to honk their horns. None of the passing autos were obliging them, so when I rolled up and as I passed them I rang my bell a few times. As I pedaled away, I heard a chorus of enthusiasm and laughter, what a way to start my day! Who do you think got the “cool” points for today, the cars or the cyclist?