“Daddy, I wish the cars had to go on the pavement and then we could go on the road better”.
Nailed (almost), through the absolute clarity of a child’s mind.
Yesterday whilst commuting to school, cars whizzed by as we cycled along Pendywalt Rd in Whitchurch, Evelyn on the pavement whilst I tackled the road. Once a cycle lane ran along here, now long since faded leaving only ghost traces. The cycle lane encouraged more children to cycle to school, but its traffic calming effects ran the ire of impatient drivers manically striving for the higher speeds of the nearby M4. In Evelyn’s head, flip over the pavement to road and hey presto! She enjoys a safer ride.
Along this stretch I police the activity. I ask her to stay on the pavement unless the road is clear, then I watch her back, shadowing her moves and talking her through the environment (‘Junction ahead love’, ‘check over your shoulder’, ‘can you hear cars coming up?’, ad-infinitum). Her knowledge and road awareness will continue to grow. But should our school run feel like a health and safety induction session? Or should it be a safe, heathy, enjoyable, practical and welcome start to a busy day?
Cities are for people. Hold that thought