Orlando Kids Take Back the Streets — By Bike

"They want to ride to school. So they do."

That’s the message at the end of this terrific video about a student-initiated bike bus in Orlando, Florida — a city with some of the meanest streets in the nation. Shot by CommuteOrlando Blog‘s Keri Caffrey, it comes to us courtesy of Streetsblog Network member 4onaQuarter.

High School Bike Bus from Keri Caffrey on Vimeo.

Many of the kids in the video are members of a nascent bike club
being formed by one of 4onaQuarter’s authors, who is a teacher at a
local high school. But the bike bus isn’t something that was initiated
by grown-ups; it was conceived and executed by the kids. It’s a
powerful demonstration of the positive influence that young people can
have on each other. Maybe they’ll influence some adults too.

4onaQuarter’s Angie told us more about it in an e-mail:

For
the bike bus in the video, there were about 15 kids. It is a regular
thing and new people are joining the club and bike bus every day. They
have set it up that they plan on riding unless otherwise noted. The
kids treat it like an actual bus. Several kids have seen the bus pass
by day after day and then decide to join it. There is a set start point
and other kids join in along the ride.

This club is definitely
"the thing" to do at the school right now. The school is located in a
district where a lot of people ride out of necessity, so I can’t say
cycling was a cool thing before. I would say many people saw people
riding and associated it with the poorest members of their community.
The club is changing perceptions among the students for sure. 
Additionally, these kids understand that they are changing perceptions
about Orlando as a cycling city and they are all over it.

Note that both boys and girls are riding. And there’s a great mix of bike types, too — from BMX to road bikes.

As for the helmet issue, which we know will come up, Angie writes:

[It]was discussed at the following bike club meeting and it was as simple
as deciding that the club would design a team helmet. "The football
team wears helmets and nobody questions that," they reasoned. Seriously?? So just like that, helmets are part of the club.

More lights are being distributed to club members, too.

We humbly tip our helmets to these Orlando kids.

  • It is a little bit sad that they chose a song about revolution for doing something as ordinary as riding a bike to school – but that is what the 20th century has done to us. Our lives are so degraded by an over-emphasis on cars that to shirk them for even the most mundane tasks is a big deal.

    One other note about the film: no pedestrians! Where are the people walking? We don’t see any until they turn to head into their school campus. That is also sad.

    Hey, at least they’re working to change things. I’d like to see a bike bus in NELA.

  • One of the most beautiful things uttered by anyone is Anne Frank’s “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” And this ‘bike bus’ is a perfect example. These young men and women have learned that they needn’t wait till they are older, more mature, more educated, more wealthy, to make things better. It’s a very simple thing to learn, but most people never learn their own power to improve their own lives, and the lives of others, through simple action. When ordinary people learn their worth now, exactly as they are… there’s nothing more powerful.

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