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Kids and Parents biking on Slow Streets in Oakland

Neighborhood Bike Parades That Help Kids Learn to Ride Together

The kids bike parade is a way to let kids play, ride bikes together and learn to ride safely.  Children and adults make new friends and build community by bike. How did the bike parade start? Earlier on in the pandemic, we learned that COVID spread mostly through poorly-ventilated air. We tried to think of ways to still foster social interactions between children with a lower risk profile.  Our family and a lot of others have gone with their kids biking to spend time outdoors.   We started by turning a birthday party into a evening bike ride.  Kids had fun biking together and being able to see each other not on a computer screen! Parents got a chance to ride with their kids and others. Neighbors were treated to a lively mini parade.   A few parents loved the […]

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How to start a Bike Train to help kids bike to school

What is a Bike Train? A bike train is a group of students and parents or volunteers who ride to school together, kind of like a carpool, but for people on bikes.  Some great things about Bike Trains include: Parents can share transportation responsibilities Reduce congestion around school by reducing the number of cars on the road Encourage healthy physical habits Build community A regular schedule helps get students to school on time Creates joy and independence She provided me with a bunch of resources, including this helpful step-by-step toolkit. We regularly rode to school before starting this activity.  With the help of Oakland’s Slow Streets, we’d already been able to realize some of the above benefits.  We’d see familiar faces on bike or on foot on the way to school.  The ride to school featured a good dose of […]

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Slow Streets: They make biking to school on Oakland’s Shafter Avenue calmer and more peaceful

  It’s great to see kids biking to school   There were so many kids biking to school on the Shafter Ave Slow Street.  I counted at least 11 kids on bikes on the 4 blocks that we rode through. It’s such a nice thing to be able to commute through these streets – streets that are not prioritized for car traffic, speed, and throughput. These kids might have been driven to school instead if not for the slow streets.  It’s great to have a lower carbon and lower congestion alternative.   About Oakland’s Slow Streets   Oakland’s Slow Streets have existed since May 2020.  They are “soft” street closures that include small barriers (such as cones) and “Road Closed to Thru Traffic” signs.  There are no other restrictions, and the intent was to still allow for local car, delivery, […]

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Bike lane on SE 42nd, Portland

Is this bike lane safe? (Riding to Creston Park was kind of scary)

  I took my child to Creston Park by bike during our last visit to Portland.  Aside from a few issues (it was hot! and my kid wasn’t used to their borrowed bike!) the ride there was mostly pleasant.  We took some of the calm neighborhood streets and Greenways. Our general path was along SE 34th, Clinton and SE 45th Avenue. I knew we’d have to cross SE Powell at some point, but I guess I had hoped that there’d be a decent way to bike across it.  Especially since Portland has relatively (for the USA) good bike infrastructure.  I also hoped that since there’s a park with Creston Elementary school nearby, the city might have provisions for easier biking to school and play.   We saw another adult and children riding, presumably headed to the same destination.  We stopped […]

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Protected bike lanes under construction on Milvia St in Berkeley, CA

Protected bike lanes on Milvia in Berkeley

  Protected lanes in Berkeley! I noticed a lot of new construction activity on Milvia Street in Berkeley a few months ago, after visiting Sports Basement and Missing Link in search of a new bike rack.  I was pretty excited to see that it looked like protected lanes were going to be installed.  Recently, coming back from University, it was nice to see the construction taking place around Addison, Center, Center, and along Berkeley High. Why protected lanes? I’ve asked a lot of friends what would make it easier for them to ride their bike more.  Most have answered that they’re scared of automobile traffic.  While painted bike lanes can be helpful, there’s not much preventing a distracted driver from drifting or veering into a bike lane and harming a person on a bike.  Protected bike lanes are great, because […]

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Red kid bike crew in Berkeley

A kids bike ride through Berkeley

 We went for a bike ride through Berkeley last week with some friends and kids.  Our friend’s child has a 20″ Frog 52 and we have a 20″ Opus Doppler.  Both red.  We enjoyed the Ninth Street bike boulevard and riding around the makeshift traffic circles (aka Healthy Streets Traffic Octagons)Third (and final, for now at least) Healthy Streets quick-build traffic octagon installed at 9th and Page! @CityofBerkeley https://t.co/Z2eIZVCGn9 pic.twitter.com/Kg8gbn7Z1C— Walk Bike Berkeley (@WalkBikeBerk) May 20, 2021The kids enjoyed singing, racing, playing games, and just chatting while riding, and I’m sure we’ll repeat this sometime in the future.We rode through West Berkeley and got food at Pollara Pizzeria and Tacubaya on 4th street when everybody got hungry.  Then we headed home. Or follow along for updates:

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Oakland Kono Protected Lane

On Oakland potentially removing our first-ever protected bike lane on Telegraph Ave

I was really disappointed to read that OakDOT is planning to remove Oakland’s first-ever protected bike lane presumably after pressure from a lot of pressure from the KONO (Koreatown Northgate) business improvement district.  Initially, I heard a lot of mixed reviews from cyclists about the protected lanes in the KONO district, mostly because of parking confusion.  Drivers would park their car in the middle of the bike lane, despite markings, because they expected parallel parking to be at the curb rather than offset from the curb.  This would then cause a big problem for a bike rider when the lane would be fully blocked by a parked car. After everyone got used to this, I felt that it worked a lot better.  I feel that it’s a lot safer because there are physical barriers (parked cars, bollards) between someone on […]

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Bridge bike ride

Bicycle infrastructure and riding with children

If you’ve been riding your bike for a while, you’ve probably heard some variant of “Get off the road!” coming from an irate driver more than a few times.  (There are a lot of links out there that try to answer the question, “Why do people shout at cyclists?”) Though it can be at best unpleasant to hear, I do wish that it was easier to ride on a dedicated path that’s not shared by automobiles.  Reducing the idea of bicycling to solely a recreational activity has made it harder for people to safely ride as a mode of transportation.  And without a network of routes to reach areas where people can ride bikes for recreation, people often need to put their bikes in or on their cars, and drive to a destination.  I think that many people want to […]

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Photo by Adrien Olichon from Pexels

Riding bikes with children: Talking about cars

In the USA, at least, I found that talking to kids about bike safety meant talking a lot about cars. Dedicated bike paths (in the USA) don’t always take you where you need to go When our child started riding with us on their own bike, I realized that 90% of our communication was about riding safely with cars on the road.  It wasn’t about kids bike safety gear, helmets, proper clothing or anything else like that.  Dedicated bike paths to the library, the playground, to school or wherever else for running errands usually don’t exist in the States.  So, we had to ride in the street, and this meant sharing the road with cars.  This is a little scary when riding with a young child. Though there are bike lanes near me, a layer of paint doesn’t feel like […]

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