Friday, February 19, 2010

Where are the children?

There are at least 3 children who travel to school by bicycle in the Atlanta area - I know because I have seen them! My morning schedule took me past the bicycle path in Decatur. First two young boys pedaled by, talking happily. Then a slightly older boy rode past, looking relaxed. The age range was maybe from 7 or 8 up to age 12. I didn't have a chance to take any photos.

You rarely see children bicycling by themselves, for transportation, in Atlanta. You may see them riding around the neighborhood or occasionally on a group ride with their parents. Bicycle infrastructure seems to be particularly important for children. While an experienced adult cyclist may be comfortable riding in traffic, children (and their parents) may not be. But riding a bike is how kids can grow up healthy, confident, and independent. This is the biggest argument for a network of well-designed bicycle lanes, tracks, and paths.


  1. You know, now that you mention it, I haven't even seen a kid delivering newspapers by bike either, (a hotly sought-after job in my youth).

    I've witness two things at play regarding kids on bikes. One is the desperate need for a linked bicycling-friendly infrastructure in Atlanta and surrounding counties. The second is enabling a shift of consciousness in parent's minds regarding their children and bicycling. Cycling can quickly loose its appeal if a kid is confined to only peddling within 50 yards of their door step.

  2. Great question and topic.

    In Davis, California there are parents and children cycling everywhere. There's an elaborate greenbelt system so children aren't subjected to car traffic. The city doesn't use buses because most kids just cycle to school.