We ride bikes

We ride bikes because it’s easy.  Because it’s cheap.  Because it’s fast, reliable, fun and healthy. We stop and talk to people we know, we wave as we go past. If it rains, we put on a raincoat. If it’s hot, we put on sunscreen. If it’s heavy, we have a rack or a basket. If it’s a baby, we have a child seat.

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We have a car. We are too young to drive. We are too old to drive. We never got our licence. Some trips we use the car, taxi, bike, train, walk.

We are girls, we are women, we are men, we are boys. We have kids, we would like them to be safe.

We ride a bike to get to school, to get to work, to the shops, to see our granny, to catch a train, to buy a coffee, to get some exercise. Sometimes we ride because it’s fun.

We get scared when a car goes too close, too fast. Big trucks are terrifying. We wait at traffic lights because… cars. We ride on the footpath because the road is not safe. We ride on the footpath because the road is clogged up with cars. We ride through red lights when it’s safer than waiting. We wear a helmet. We don’t wear a helmet.

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We get that cars kill people, bikes rarely do. We get that bikes aren’t noisy. We get that bikes don’t give people lung cancer. We get that bikes don’t do climate change or make photochemical smog.

We get why you don’t ride. We get that you don’t ever want to. We get that you would ride if there was a safe bike path. We get asked about riding because people think it’s complicated. We get told off because somebody rode through a red light.

We get it.

4 Comments

  • Andy Galloway says:

    Yes. Simple, I get it too.
    We just ride bikes because.

  • Steve Taylor says:

    Can’t you see the ridiculousness of this photo? The dad isn’t wearing a helmet, yet his two kids are! It’s clear he understands that helmets improve his kid’s safety and their chance of survival if they fall off. And yet, he is cavalier about his own safety (and being in control of his bike, ultimately cavalier about his kids’ safety too). It’s not just about falling off and hitting your head on the road – there’s also things like low branches, car doors, low underpasses … it’s much better to hit your head wearing a helmet than hitting your head and not wearing a helmet. Take it from me, I know!

    The photo shows mixed messages, and in particular “do as I say and not as I do”. Not very responsible parenting, is it? So “Daddy Cool”? Not really …

    The photo doesn’t support removal of mandatory helmet laws at all … it just shows a guy who should know better, and does when it comes to his kids.

  • Editor says:

    It shows a guy who chooses to use a bicycle. Australia’s enthusiasm for helmet law reduces cycling levels, and consequently costs the health budget more than it saves. Make “this guy” wear a helmet, and we all suffer the consequences (more traffic, higher health bills).
    BTW adults do lots of things children can’t do, e.g. drink alcohol, have sex etc. It’s normal really.

  • Steve Taylor says:

    No, it shows a guy with double standards. He’s “too cool” for a helmet, apparently. And as I and others have pointed out, it’s highly doubtful that the helmet laws alone will drive down cycling participation rates. Make “this guy” wear a helmet, and “this guy” will wear a helmet. Either that or “this guy” won’t ride. Doesn’t mean he will be a burden on the health system – which he certainly might be if he falls off without a helmet! So, Can you please point to a peer-reviewed, scientific study that says directly that a) helmet laws alone drive down cycling participation rates, and b) this reduction is cycling participation directly costs the health budget more. Then I may have some sympathy for your position. Otherwise it’s just opinion.

    It’s up to adults to set an example to their kids, and exhibit consistency if they want their children’s respect (and in this case compliance). It’s not a question of “BTW adults do a lot of things children can’t do” … your comment is pretty childish really, and has no strength in your argument. The question is about responsible behaviour and what we teach our kid’s via our actions.

    The “more traffic” argument fails on a number of levels – even if there was an increase in participation in cycling, the population increases due to births and immigration will far outweigh any impacts on traffic that cycling has, and to think otherwise is utopian and unrealistic thinking. By all means, seek to improve infrastructure for cycling, but to think that problems of increased traffic or increased health costs will be solved by removing MHL’s is fanciful. We’d be better off banning cars and cigarettes if that was your objective (which it isn’t – you’re using it as a crutch simply because there are times you don’t want to wear a helmet when cycling).

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