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Kids and Bicycle Safety

Original post made by C Gage, Del Prado, on Mar 22, 2008

Hi Friends,

Anyone else heartbroken about the news of a fifth-grade old boy in San Ramon who was killed when he accidentally entered a residential intersection into the path of (or into the side of) a small-ish bus and was killed? I often see young (under 12) kids riding their bikes to/from school without adults on the sidewalks along Pleasanton's major throughways. I see them make decisions at intersections - like crossing at intersections on a yellow light or not looking into a right-turn lane next to them before crossing on a green light to the street the lane feeds into... The family of this S.R. boy must be so heartbroken.

Anyway, my reason for starting this thread is to open a discussion about how our community, schools and neighborhoods and police can work together to help parents and children use the best bicycle safety practices possible. I know the Pleas. Police Dept has a bike safety program, but wonder if it gets used by enough people, if there's enough education out there to inform parents about things like this: How old, tall or mature should a child be before being allowed to ride alone on his/her bicycle... I don't know the answer, but I wonder if PPD or other sources have stats to back up any suggested ages/sizes for kids to cycle w/o an adult(kind of like carseat laws).

Again, I request that we keep this an advice or suggestion forum and respectfully ask fellow residents that we avoid any accusaions or blame-placing related to any children's or parents' decisions regarding kids' bicycle use.

Hoping to stay safe --

Comments (7)

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Posted by ES
a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 22, 2008 at 6:22 pm

when i first let my middle schoolers ride bikes to school I followed them and spied on them one day, then got them in trouble after school for not being as careful as they were supposed to be. No bikes for a month.

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Posted by Amy
a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 22, 2008 at 11:40 pm

I see parents driving their kids to and from school everyday, and everyday I see them go through red lights. I see them talking on the phone, oblivious to children in crosswalks. I see them drive toward children in crosswalks, instead of stopping. I would never let my children walk or ride their bikes to school in Pleasanton because of the narcissistic parent drivers I see on the road every school day.

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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 23, 2008 at 12:51 am

When approaching kids using the bike lane in the direction of my travel, if possible, I move over a lane. Most of the time these kids have recently been released from school and their mind is on anything but watching for vehicles approaching from behind. They sometimes veer out of the bike lane while having fun with their friends.

Just remember when we adults were kids and where our thoughts were after school. Be an alert defensive driver, especially around schools.

I agree with Amy, some of the most dangerous drivers around schools are parents transporting children while their thoughts are elsewhere.


Good for you. Thank you for being a responsible parent.

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Posted by C Gage
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 23, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Good points, Amy and Jerry. My kids ride bikes to school sometimes - but only with me, door to door with close supervision of the way they're riding - I told my son the story about S.R. boy to get him to stop asking, "When can I ride to school by myself?" Some other kids from his school do, at age 10. I'm just not ready yet. I hate usuing stories like this as examples. Then we learned that the little boy from San Ramon who died was in the same class as the daughter of a good friend of ours. Tragic. No other way to put it.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 23, 2008 at 4:03 pm

I never carry a cell phone in the car. All riders are quiet or they can take a taxi at their own expense. Children know how to pressure parents to get their way;accompany you kids door to door, no bicycles. I don't think that most children can rely upon adults to drive carefully. I don't. Nothing in the world will ever bring back that 5th grade child. Tragic.

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Posted by PToWN94566
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Mar 23, 2008 at 9:10 pm

I think it's important for parents to discuss bicycle safety with their children- making sure that they pay attnetion when crossing streets, helmets etc. I live in an area where children cut through the side street- it's a scary place to drive around 3pm. I've seen MANY without helmets or they do the thing where someone sits on the handle bars. Also, the intersection of Greenwood and Valley is scary-I've seen many students, walking or on bikes, dart out in the middle of traffic and stand on the medium. Cars turning could possibly not see these darting kids as a smaller car often can't see infront of larger ones. Anyway I think it goes both ways that drivers and pedestrains need to be safe and really pay attention during school hours.

On a side note, I remember getting pulled over on my bike about 15 years ago for not riding on the correct side of the street. I wish police officers would patrol school zones more often when school is let out. That way they can pull over the people in speeding cars, rolling through stop signs etc, as well as stop kids on bikes that aren't wearing helmets or who dart across the street. A simple citation is worth it compared to being injured or possibled killed.

And doesn't a cell phone law start up this summer? It'll be interesting in the fall to see if parents continue to chat on their phones. I've seen many parents in larger sized cars, small ones too,(and no not everyone does this) talk on their phones with a couple kids in the car. Dangerous!

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Posted by Parent of a bike rider
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 28, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Take a look a this public service announcement from the UK which illustrates very well that we need to increase our awareness of bicyclists when we are behind the wheel of a car:

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