Friday, May 26, 2017

Bikes and children: Good intentions gone awry

In yesterday's CityLab:
...“I mean, a bike is a fantastic gift—there is no need to pretend it is something else,” she told Forbes. [Isla]Rowntree decided she could do better, and founded Islabikes—the first company dedicated exclusively to children’s bikes—in 2006. While its headquarters are in the U.K., the outfit has a U.S. office in Portland, Oregon. It offers bikes for all ages—from toddlers to teens—starting with balance bikes, which lack pedals or chains. These allow small children to learn how to balance so they’re better prepared when they graduate to pedals. Training wheels just hinder the process (How to Build a Better Kids' Bike)...
Rob's comment:
This is a terrible idea, since bikes are a serious health and safety hazard for children. I've been posting about this issue for years. Click on "Children and Bikes" below for earlier posts. 

My comment to the story:
I understand that liberals with good intentions want to encourage their children to take up riding bikes, which is all the rage among libs and progs.

But the Centers for Disease Control provides information they should consider first: 

"While only 1% of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do."

And the American Association of Neurological Surgeons says cycling causes the most head injuries.

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At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well they actually would like to train them at a young age convincing them bikes are the best thing and one should prefer them over cars. As they want to get rid of cars.

I'm not sure if you know this or not but as an example "sustainability" "climate change" "livable streets" etc are part of subjects that are now curriculum in school esp in college.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, and rightly so. But the bike zealots are crudely trying to indoctrinate even children in the First Grade, as I described in this post.

You don't address the safety issue, which is particularly important for children, since a simple fall off a bike can cause brain trauma, which is why the link to the website of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons is important. They deal professionally with brain trauma, and they see riding bikes as the biggest cause of that type of injury.

Adult cyclists take the same risk. Riding a bike is being oversold to all ages, and the risks are being downplayed or ignored, as if "infrastructure" and helmets can make it safe. But it's particularly disturbing that apparently even children have become an accessory to the political bike movement.

At 4:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My point..... they're conditioning them to be advocates starting at a young age. Safety is not the issue.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Safety is not the issue for them because they are crackpots.

Back in 2010, Children and the bike cult discussed that "conditioning." It apparently hit a sensitive spot, since that post got a lot of comments. Parents who belong to cults of course try to indoctrinate their children in the practices and beliefs of those cults, even when, as here, that cult endangers the children.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

By the way, indoctrinating city school children in BikeThink was in the version of the city's Bicycle Plan we litigated about. See The bike zealots want your children. This is still the city's policy: Getting children on bikes.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same website that you cite for the head injury statistics also mentioned that 50-70% of all TBIs are caused by motor vehicle crashes. Funny, I'm not seeing you suggest that we keep our kids out of cars despite the danger.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No one denies that people get hurt in car crashes, but like you the anti-car lobby---Bicycle Coalition, Walk SF---ignores what the CDC says above:
"While only 1% of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do."

And from the NY Times story I linked:
"According to the study, the sports most likely to lead to the injuries are bicycling, football, playground activities, basketball and soccer...The report said that children under 10 are most likely to visit the emergency room for head injuries sustained on a playground or while bicycling. The injuries among males ages 10 to 19 are most likely from football, followed by bicycling. From ages 15 to 19, football causes by far the most concussions (30.3 percent). Soccer, basketball or bicycling are the most likely culprits for females ages 10 to 19..."

Since bicycling is mentioned as often as football and soccer---where "heading" is the main problem---encouraging children to take it up is irresponsible.

At 1:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're arguing that allowing children to take up soccer and football are just as irresponsible at having them take up bicycling. So, I guess those parents are also part of a "cult" for irresponsibly allowing their children to partake in sports that have known head injury risks. After all, the leading cause of head injuries for children ages 15 to 19 are from football.

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Football in the US is like a cult that's become like a religion, since there are thousands of teams at all age levels in American schools, and the NFL is very popular in spite of the clear evidence that brain damage is common among former players. Yes, parents shouldn't let their children play either American football or soccer.

See today's NY Times for the latest on football and brain damage: A Football Coach’sStruggle With C.T.E.---and a Guilty Conscience.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Here's some functional links to the Centers for Disease Control on bikes and safety: here and here.

And here's a functional link to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.


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