Sometimes when there’s breaking news, such as dissolving light rail contracts, verdicts from trials, public hearings on major transit or bicycle plans, it’s easy to lose sight that sometimes Livable Streets activism can be as simple as encouraging your children, or parents, to use their bikes, take transit or think of ways to move around without cars.
Cyclists Inciting Change through Live Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.) has been preaching this sort of personal advocacy for years. Now they’re asking the question, "how can we encourage more families to ride together." Earlier this week they announced the beginning of their "Families And Bikes" (F.A.B.) program that seeks to answer that question and put theory to reality. The first step is to gather information and ideas from their supporters. You can help by taking their survey or posting a comment on the article announcing the program.
C.I.C.L.E. lists a lot of great reasons that we should be encouraging families to take bike trips together, be they recreational, to the store, to run errand or to school. From the announcement:
With epidemic obesity and Type 2 diabetes rates continuing to rise,
promoting city bicycling, as a family activity, can be a great way to
(literally) get entire families moving toward increased levels of
fitness and a greater quality of life. Unfortunately, many parents
living in the Los Angeles area are choosing not to bicycle with their
children on city streets, and many view bicycling as an impractical or
even an unpleasant transportation option for their families.
They go on to point out that this isn’t just an L.A. problem, and provide examples from around the world that show parents skittish about putting children on bikes in urban settings.
The good news is that there are some solutions already out there. A recent Streetsblog.net article challenged parents to work with schools to make cycling a "cool" and practical way to get to school. Locally, City Lites hosts a ride every spring that has, literally, thousands of South L.A. children bicycling from park to park. Also, C.I.C.L.E. board member David Pulsipher, when he’s not working on the Bike Plan with Alta Planning or on the next C.I.C.L.E. event, writes Kids, Bikes, Dads, a great resource for families interested in getting the children on bikes at an early age.
Instead of leaving your suggestions for what else C.I.C.L.E. can be doing, leave those suggestions at their blog; let’s fill the comments section with what riding with your family meant to you as a child or as a parent. I’ll go first.