Do your kids ride to school? Or maybe you're thinking that this year your kids will be starting to ride to school? We've talked before about what you can do to make sure your kids are ready to ride to school. But that's only half of the preparation. You need to know that the route is safe and easy to navigate too and having protected bike lanes along roads on the route to school would be awesome. And not every kid will be able to ride to school - as Damien Enderby points out in his interview with us, "Our eldest is certainly mature and capable of riding to school on her own but the route is too high risk for her to be allowed to. We're not about cotton-wooling our kids but...
As a parent you've always got to weigh up the pros and cons - risks and safety - and every situation is different."Every year we are hearing of, and beginning to see, better infrastructure around bike lanes on our roads. But not all bike lanes are made equal - they might allow a dedicated space to ride your bike but having a bike lane nestled between parked cars and moving traffic can be daunting for kids, and adults - the risk of doors opening up and knocking you off your bike, or cars swerving into bike lane to move around other traffic or just simpy not keeping their eyes on the road. And sometimes, bike lanes are there for some of the route, and then they simply stop, leaving the rider no option but to join traffic on a single lane.
So what makes a good bike lane?One that is safe enough for kids to ride to school in? An article recently published in the Momentum Mag on What Makes a Bike Lane Great? lists these things:
- A permanent barrier/curb that might be characterised with cement or plastic planters/pots, not just a white line.
- Bright green paint
- A wide lane that allows for more than 1 bike across
- A lane on each side of the street
- A lane that does not suddenly stop and the bikes then have to 'share' a road that appears cars have been given full access to