Kids Just Wanna Ride Bikes
Most Dutch children ride their bikes to school, which not only offers them more freedom but also establishes bicycling as a natural habit that endures throughout adulthood. This is possible because Dutch cities promote traffic safety at an early age and create special bike streets, separating bike lanes from cars on busy roads.
Kids learn how to get around by bike, foot and public transportation in special classes given weekly at primary schools as part of core curriculum.
(left) At DeSpits primary school in Utrecht, the Netherlands, 95% percent of kids bike to school at least some of the time. Photo: Jay Walljasper
Practice makes perfect
In Utrecht, all schoolchildren spend some time at Trafficgarden, a miniature city complete with roads, sidewalks and busy intersections where students hone their pedestrian, biking and driving skills (in non-motorized pedal cars). A Dutch study shows that kids who bike to school on their own are more self-confident and earn higher grades than those who are driven to school by parents.
(left) Children practice their traffic skills at Trafficgarden, a miniature city complete city with roads, sidewalks, bike paths and busy intersections. Photo: Ronald Tamse