Thursday, April 08, 2010

Walking and Bicycling to School - a National Epidemic is Ending?

As a member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, I receive a weekly update on all things cycling and advocacy related in the LA County. The editor recently posted a link to an article on bicycling and walking to school. Apparently, walking and cycling to school have stabilized at an all time low of about 12%. This is absolutely amazing to me! In Los Angeles, most children live within a mile of school...why wouldn't they walk or ride their bikes? My daughter and I love walking/bicycling/scootering to school! But where are the other 88%? Oh yeah...I's too dangerous...

Hear me out here. This morning, a group of walking parents congregated at the school gate to chat (as we usually of the things you can't do in a car). We watched three cars blow right through the crosswalk as the crossing guard was standing in the middle of the street with children crossing to school! As if a crossing guard wearing a a reflective vest holding a STOP sign wasn't enough, there are three signs in each direction leading up to the cross walk signaling drivers that they are approaching a school zone and the speed limit is 25mph. And yet, they still just blow right through (and no, they were not on the cell phone). No wonder many parents don't feel safe walking/riding with their children.

LACBC hopes to address this type of concern by launching a Bicycle Ad Awareness Campaign. Their goal is "to help make drivers more aware of the growing number of bicyclists on our streets in order to create safer streets for all." Great! Are they the ones posting the white signs all over the city saying "Watch for cyclists" and "Share the road"? No, they will be posting ads in bus depot and public kiosks. So, how many drivers do you think are hanging out at the bus depot? Hmmmm.... While I can certainly get behind a cycling ad campaign to promote safety, I think they have mis-identified their audience. Unless I am missing some of the details here, I think they need to go back to the drawing board on this one... Me, I called the local police department and asked them to please station a police officer out in front of the school from 7:30 to 8am. Think of it as public safety and a great way of generating revenue for a cash-strapped city!

1 comment: said...

the city probably won't allow them to post signs along the street -- and of course the city is not concerned about it either. Amazing. Here in Orange County, streets in front of schools that formerly had bike lanes, have had the bike lanes removed in favor of adding a center turn lane in the streets so the SUV driving moms and better get their kids to school. Wow.