Kurapatkin is on to something with this idea (in the comment above) that, alongside drivers ed classes, there should be safe bicycle riding classes in schools.
This would address the heart of the problem in two ways. It would teach young people how to ride safe and reduce bad and dangerous cycling behaviors. I see these behaviors present in many children riding to school and back, like going against traffic, riding in and out of traffic by taking the sidewalk, no lights, etc.
But most importantly, by spending even a week or two riding a bike on the street and practicing safe cycling behaviors, young people would be instilled with the idea that cyclists are part of the transportation system.
When they eventually get behind the wheel of a car, they will *expect* that there will be cyclists on the road. They will have the awareness each time they drive a motor vehicle that, "I need to watch for pedestrians and cyclists. I have the potential to injure or kill with this automobile."
I also believe that with such classes as part of our education system, more people would feel empowered to choose cycling as a viable form of transportation. Riding a bike in traffic can be very scary at first, but that fear goes away with familiarity and experience. By breaking the ice and getting young people on bikes and on the road in a safe, mentored environment, we plant the seed of awesomeness and self-empowerment of being a commuter cyclist.
We got married there on Saturday!
Hmmm…maybe I should rename my show to "Glitch in the Smorgasbord."
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