If you are a parent who cycles, you probably want to encourage your child to do the same. Yet, like any parent, you worry. You know it would only take one inattentive or out-of-control driver to take your child from you.
You can do your best, teaching your child how to ride safely, making sure they wear a helmet and so on, yet the truth is, there is only so much you can do. The responsibility for making cycling safer for kids lies with drivers and with the authorities.
What can drivers do?
First and foremost, car users need to realize how finely balanced the life of someone on a bicycle is. It would take nothing to end it or cause a serious injury. Keeping that at the forefront of their mind every time they take the wheel will help drivers get their priorities right.
For example, would a driver with the urge to check their phone do so if they knew their own child was cycling on the road around them? Would they increase speed to get to work on time if they knew their child was set to cross the road at a random point somewhere along the way? There are always kids on bicycles, but because they are not “their” kids, drivers forget about them.
What can the authorities do?
Those who make the decisions need to stop prioritizing cars when planning towns and roads. For example, recent pledges to expand the electric car industry will help combat emissions and air pollution but why not prioritize cycling instead? That could do far more of both. What is more, it could raise the general level of health and reduce deaths or injuries due to cars hitting cyclists.