On Tuesday morning I was walking up my street when a commuting SUV honked loudly as a little girl going to school by bike crossed the unsidewalked road. She had been told by her mom to cross the street before the hill so that she could line up with the only sidewalk that is on the connecting arterial road. The honking SUV driver came up beside me, rolled down the window, and said that the little cyclist had crossed the road in front of her as if that was a bad thing. And you get the narrative~if there had not been a witness no one could have said what had truly happened, that a driver using the street as a commuting street went around a corner at speed and could not see the child crossing from the height of her SUV. I told the driver to slow her vehicle down as she continued her tirade about children walking and biking to school.
This is why children don’t bike, and why moms are hesitant to allow their children to go to school by foot or by cycle. We have designed streets, we evaluate streets, and we fix streets so that the most vulnerable of our society are the most disadvantaged by them.
Miriam Moore of New Zealand’s Women in Urbanism nails it when she says ” Road and street networks are so often analysed and assessed regarding their automobile connectivity, that we forget about their function in supporting the street life that surrounds them… Unfortunately, those who suffer from these networks maintaining their predominance, are society’s most vulnerable.” Read more »