They want to ride to school. So they do.

In Orlando Florida, one of the worst places to ride a bike in America, some high school students are taking back the streets:

High School Bike Bus from Keri Caffrey on Vimeo. Via Streetsblog.

Meanwhile, here in Los Angeles, elementary and high school groups go on field trips to the auto show:

No doubt our educational dollars were well spent showing the kids the informative educational displays:

I noticed that some of the students at the car show had been given traffic safety pamphlets about how to safely ride bikes. Car companies have been producing pedestrian and bike safety info for years. At the risk of being somewhat conspiratorial, auto industry produced safety materials often carry a hidden message that walking and biking are dangerous, marginal activities. Actually biking to school together like the Florida students as well as walking school buses send a much better message, in my opinion.

The good news is that, in car-centric cities like Orlando and Los Angeles there is a growing awareness that alternative transportation arrangements need to be made quickly. Here in LA we’ve got a lot of work to do.

Thanks to Elon Schoenholz for scoring two free passes to the car show. It’s good to check out how the consensus trance is holding up.

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9 Comments

  1. The Metro as well as bike organizations could truly learn from the automobile industry. Put some hot babes and healthy looking people in the booth and they’ll attract more visitors and potential customers. Not much of that was visible in the non-car booths at the AltCar expo. Just sayin’.

  2. Thanks for the video- that was really cool. I hope those kids persist and change attitudes in Florida, where I used to live. For instance, in Oregon you get rewarded with five cents off your bill for bringing your own bag to the grocery store; when I lived in Florida, they’d just look at you like you had two heads when you brought in a bag. It’s great that this kind of activism is coming from the next gen- I really hope they keep it up. They’ll have to- it their world next.

  3. Just one thing, if the street-lights go on, do so with your bike lights, I’m both a cyclist most of the time, and sometimes a car driver and I don’t want to drive over you, not seeing you.

  4. The mom in me wanted to see some helmets on those kids. Our public high school is offering AP Environmental Sciences for the first time this year and they have had several field trips riding their bikes down to the arroyo to test the water!

  5. Paula, as recently as 3 years ago Publix employees looked at me as if I had 2 heads when I took my own bags. Now Publix offers green bags at the register for a few cents and has signs outside the store that say “Did you remember your green bag.”

    Things are changing here.

    The kids have lights already at front and rear. Soon all will. They will have “club” helmets of their choosing and design, too. This video was a result of us joining their group about a week after it was formed. We’re helping them get the equipment they need. They created this all by themselves, and that’s the truly wonderful thing! With no influence, they took responsibility for each other — each has a partner to ride next to (not a pack, but a neat double line), they put slow riders in front so they won’t get dropped and they ride 100% following the rules.

  6. I am Zazzed about the awareness of the need for safe bike lanes I see growing coast to coast. Here in Ft. Lauderdale its a perfect town to be ABLE to commute on a bike, but, you really are taking your life in your hands to get out there on the crowded roads with the abundance of poor drivers, about 2 times a week I hear of an Bike vs. car incident, with the cyclist losing every time. I would like to see more protected bike lanes available if we are ever to make it a viable alternative to autos. I am 52, and I like doing my 20 milers down A1A on weekends but man, sometime it’s a jungle just thread my way those few miles east to the beach, but worth it!

  7. Just a funny note from someone that lives in Tampa, FL…you can be arrested for not having a bell on your bike. I’m not sure what percentage of arrests are for non-bell wearing cyclists but it’s an interesting fact.

  8. OK, so it’s all lovely and nice to see those kids riding to school, but WTF is up with not wearing helmets? Kind of moronic. And isn’t it illegal to ride your bike on a road without a helmet? It sure is here in Australia.

  9. Rosie,

    In some states you have to wear a helmet if you are under 18. I always ride with a helmet. That being said I’d rather we talk about the dangers of not riding a bike, i.e. increased risk of heart attacks and obesity. I think mandatory helmet laws are misguided. Rather, let’s increase the penalties for bad driving. Here in the US a motorist can kill someone and get off with a slap on the wrist. We need to do everything we can to make our cities more walkable and bikeable. For me this is a public health issue.

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