As is usual for Dutch villages, De Groeve is connected by cycle-paths to the nearest town. The existing cycle-path was quite good. I was very impressed when I first rode along it in 2008.
There was really just one problem with this cycle-path. At night it was not well enough lit for parents to feel that their children were safe riding to and from school.
|Press the button to make the lights|
brighter. There's also a counter
Grotere kaart weergeven
Grotere kaart weergeven
We already have other wildlife friendly lighting, such as green tinted LED cycle-path lighting at several locations in Assen.
However, all is not completely rosy for child cyclists in the Netherlands. These days they're involved in an increasing number of crashes, mostly single rider crashes, or cyclists colliding with one another. The reason why ? Perhaps it's due to mobile phones:
Meanwhile, According to a press-release from the Stichting Consument en Veiligheid, more Dutch children are having accidents with their bikes due to more of them having mobile phones and more of them using those phones while cycling (please note that as pointed out in the comments, not everyone agrees there has been a rise in danger and the Stichting has itself been criticised for being alarmist. I have learnt not to read much that I read in press releases about cycling).
Of course, every one of the children who is interviewed says that they behave perfectly and it's everyone else and not them. All the children being interviewed claim to be extremely careful and don't use their phones while cycling, though one admits to listening to music.
No-one wants children to be in danger, so extra safety lessons are being given in order to try to convince children not to use mobile phones while cycling to school. This is perhaps not entirely a bad thing.
Both of these videos demonstrate one thing quite clearly, though. It's normal in the Netherlands for small children to cycle to school, in daylight, at night time, in the summer, in the winter. Mostly they do this unaccompanied by adults (on average this is by the age of 8 and a half). In order for this to happen it must be safe enough for children to cycle without parents becoming overly worried about their childrens' safety. The literature that children are given does not emphasize helmets and reflectives as these are remarkably ineffective in increasing all three types of safety in comparison with working on sustainable safety measures.
|Not only do childrens' bikes have|
dynamos, so do their textbooks. A
day after writing this post, I
spotted my daughter studying this.