So what do you think of it? I'm curious.
The cyclist who sent me the link thought that it was a very positive video and indicated that there was hope for the future. I can see where he is coming from. We have a video of a father who, rather than do as the majority do and drive his kid to school, has found a way to get his child to cycle safely to school. This is despite living in a built up area with traffic.
I have to say, that is good. I applaud that cyclist and his conviction.
But wait. (you knew that was coming didn't you).
The article and the video leave me feeling rather depressed. In fact I think this video demonstrates with exceptional clarity exactly what the problem is. Look at it again.
The dad, is not your normal dad. He is a Sustrans Schools Officer who works on the Bike It project. His job is to encourage children to cycle. Therefore, he is highly motivated and highly skilled when it comes to providing on road cycle training. He is in effect, an expert.
The video shows this expert taking his child on some 'relatively' quite suburban roads to his school. During the video you can hear the dad instructing his child what to do at junctions, when to look back, and when it is safe to proceed etc.
Hmmm. I've done similar with my oldest (who's 8) on some roads near us.
Then they come to a busier road and at this point the dad admits defeat and takes his child onto the pavement. Officially this is of course, illegal, but who can blame them. they do of course ride very carefully on the pavement.
They are at school and the video ends.
....we thought it would be a great video blog to share with other parents who are considering riding to school with their childrenHmmm. This just isn't right. So what is my problem with this?
I personally have a lot of respect for Sustrans. I know not everyone does, but I have some insight into the problems they face and I think, when it comes to infrastructure, they do a good job in difficult circumstances. A lot of the infrastructure isn't great, but with better funding and more time I'm sure they would create some great infrastructure.
I think, on this particular blog, they have completely missed the point. Is it inspiring that to get a child to cycle safely to school you need someone who is 'expert' in cycle training? Yes I know others do take their kids on similar routes, but I'll bet the majority of those people are expert in cycling, in some way. This is not something that most parents have the skills, or the time to do, and by that I mean the time and skill to practice cycling on local roads to build up the child courage, especially when many adults themselves don't even have the courage!
What is even more depressing is that this expert dad had to give up at the end. He had to 'give in' to the traffic. What chance do non-expert parents have if even expert parents feel that cycling in some areas on the way to school is too dangerous?
If you want to see inspiring, look at the videos of kids cycling to school in the Netherlands.
There are plenty more like it.
What this video tells me, is that some parents despite the conditions, if they have the skills and time can help their children to cycle most of the way to school legally.
The very fact that cycling organisations think this is an inspiring video, is a wake up call to us all.