Kids in the Roadway
Suzanne Asked: We have neighbors who allow their elementary school children to ride their bikes and scooters in the residential street. They ride with traffic, against traffic, perpendicular to traffic, and down the center of the street. They also come off the end of their driveway. Personally, I do not allow my children to ride in our street because it is very busy. This family has expressed to me in the past that they feel they have the right of way, and that the neighbors should make way for their children. The father even told me proudly that he has seen many neighbors go around the block to avoid his kids. Today I had a close call when the daughter and a friend almost went off the end of the driveway on scooters in front of my car. The mother texted me angrily that I was driving too fast. I apologized, and left it at that. But I was also upset because the parents take no responsibility in teaching the children how to properly ride in the street, and blame the motor vehicles for any conflict. I am afraid these kids are going to get hit, and not only the child’s life may be lost or ruined, and their family’s lives ruined, but the lives of the one who hits them and their family will be ruined, also. I thought I might write them a letter citing the statute 316.2065, especially subsection 12, which states that scooters are not permitted. It is a tragedy waiting to happen, and I was very scared and shaken today. I plan to go around the block from now on. Do you have any advice on how to handle this chronic problem?
They are apparently violating the laws and the parents are endangering their kids by allowing it. It isn’t likely that your neighbors will accept your letter as the kindly advice you are offering. It is recommended that you contact local law enforcement and express your concerns.
Do the children ever see any adults riding bicycles on the street? They probably aren’t even aware that, when they’re on the street, they are “traffic”. Many of the skills and practices we use to manage daily life we learned not from any formal instruction, but from observing others.
I was at a meeting recently where I couldn’t figure out what control one needed to use to dispense coffee from the high-tech coffee pot. I didn’t want to interrupt others to ask for help and just took some water. Eventually someone else got up to get coffee. I observed they depressed a surface on the top of the pot I had thought was just a lid, and a stream of coffee was dispensed into the cup they held. I then tried the same technique myself; it worked.
When riding a bicycle or motorcycle on the residential street I live on, I always ride on the right side, but near the center of the street, so as to maintain safe clearance from cars parked on the street and to minimize conflicts with any drivers emerging from driveways; I also look carefully before riding out of my own driveway. Does my riding behavior influence the kids who ride their bicycles on the street? Don’t know, but it can’t hurt. I’ve observed the kids on my street do generally ride their bikes on the right side of the street.