In Vancouver, spring break is nearly over and the weather has almost tipped from completely wet and miserable to “Rain, what rain?” This is a perfect time to dust off the kids’ bikes, pump up the tires, oil the chain, check the brakes, and bike to school (if you’re not already).
I’ve seen claims that 40% of Canadian children get driven to school. If you have school-age kids yourself, pass by a school during your commute, or live near a school, then you’re already well aware of the congestion that occurs near schools. Studies have shown, though, that kids that use active transportation to get to school — walking, biking, scooter-ing, and so on — are more attentive in school, get better grades, and have a lower obesity level. In 2006, a study showed that while over 30% of students in Vancouver said they’d like to bike to school, only 2% actually did.
Some schools in Vancouver have programs to facilitate students biking to school. Some Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) have arranged “bike trains” or “bike buses” where a group of students and adults meet at pre-designated places along a route to school and then bike together to school (and back). It’s a great way for kids to gain experience and confidence riding their bicycle.
Kids who have been taught the rules of the road early, and have had a chance to gain the experience and comfort riding on the city streets will become responsible adult cyclists. A number of organizations in Vancouver provide education programs for kids, and if your school has not had one recently you may wish to approach your PAC to bring one in soon.
Some of these programs include:
- Our Community Bike Club
- Cool Routes to School
- Bikewise Interactive
And, of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Kitsilano’s own children’s musician (and former VSB teacher) Will Stroet who has a bike safety song and video:
If you need to get your child a bike, you might want to read this previous post. If your kid’s bike needs some TLC before it’s ridable, or if you want to get it check for your own piece of mind, take it to any of Kitsilano’s fine bike shops and they’ll be happy to fix it up for you.
The week of May 27 to June 2nd is officially Bike to School Week but with the great weather, how about getting a head start?
Last modified: April 1, 2013