A. “The loss of 630 lives in bicycle crashes in 2009, just under two people every day of the year in the U.S., is a terrible toll” (“Bicycle Crash Facts”), states the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. B. Due to the lack of education in bike safety, Elementary Schools in the U.S. do not provide, children are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents, have an increased risk of death, and the rate of people riding bikes is rapidly decreasing. II. Body Paragraph
Children are not informed properly about the different traffic signs, the importance of a helmet and other topics, which are fundamental for a person to be able to ride a bike. III. Body Paragraph
In addition, Teachers and parents should encourage their children and students to ride their bikes more frequently, what could prevent them from obesity and pollution. IV. Body Paragraph Besides the positive change the use of a bicycle can have on a human body and even mind as they relax on their way, they help reduce pollution, as they do not create any carbon emissions. V. Conclusion
A. Clearly, elementary schools in the United States of America do not satisfy the deficit of the bicycling information in the education system in order to prevent their students from eventual traffic accidents, perhaps even death and to encourage the next generation to use their bicycles more frequently. B. Summarize Body Paragraphs
C. Saving 630 lives of sons and daughters in a year should not be a topic to discuss, but to be set immediately in action and support the greatest invention a human ever made, the bicycle.
A Ride to a Better World
“The loss of 630 lives in bicycle crashes in 2009, just under two people every day of the year in the U.S., is a terrible toll” (“Bicycle Crash Facts”), states the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Nowadays people live ignorantly with the idea of bicycling being too dangerous, forgetting that it is a healthy, alternative and effective form of transportation that provides a fascinating way of exercising. Not only do bicyclists have to be educated, but also every user of a public vehicle has to be informed about bike safety; every vehicle user has to be aware of bikes exactly as they are for other vehicles. In order for a cyclist to be safe, car drivers and motorcyclists have to treat cyclists as a vehicle exactly as they are.
Due to the lack of education in bike safety, Elementary Schools in the U.S. do not provide, children are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents, have an increased risk of death, and the rate of people riding bikes is rapidly decreasing. Children are not informed properly about the different traffic signs, the importance of a helmet and other topics, which are fundamental for a person to be able to ride a bike. John Pucher, a professor of urban planning, has been conducting much research on transport policies, transport systems, and specially bicycling behavior in Europe, Canada, and the USA. Considered an expert on the topic planning and public policy, he informed; “Freiburg, Germany reported the largest increase in bicycling, almost doubling the bicycle share of trips from 15% in 1982 to 27% in 2007.
These data suggest that it may be difficult to increase bicycling beyond already high levels” (Putcher, John). Without a doubt, the reason for the increase in bicycling in this country is education. In Germany, children in 4th grade have to obligatory take a license test for bicycles. Basically, it is the same as a driver’s license; for a month children are taught by their teachers about traffic signs and how to react in different traffic situations. After the theoretical lessons, they bring their already inspected bikes to school and start with practical lessons, riding on miniature traffic lines and obeying traffic signs previously installed.
To make the situation seem more formal, children nervously take the theoretical and practical test, supervised by two police officers. Enthusiastically, every child wants to impress their parents by riding as good as they can. Tzirath Perez, a thirteen-year old girl, describes her experience in fourth grade: “Thanks to the bicycle lessons I had in Germany, now, when I ride my bike with my friends, I feel more secure, confident and I am glad I already know most of the traffic signs” (Perez). Because of the early encouragement for children, they are more willing to use their bikes and are prepared to ride through traffic safely on their way to their destination.
By wearing a helmet and knowing exactly how to behave on the street when riding their bikes to school, German children help to reduce their parent’s car use because these young cyclists can travel safely without an automobile. Because these children ride their bikes to school in the morning they save their parents from the stress of hurrying to get ready in the morning for school and from spending time stuck in car congestions trying to get to school. Due to the bike lanes, which the U.S government has introduced to the streets, it is safer for children to ride their bikes and they will arrive faster at their destination. After school, when children ride home they relax their body and mind, enjoying the beautiful nature and breathing fresh air.
While riding their bicycles between school and home, children have a little bit of time for themselves to calm down by forgetting about the stressful school and agitated parents. Jennifer Dill, a professor at the Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning, states in her research paper: “An extensive and rapidly growing literature suggests the need to facilitate bicycling through appropriate infrastructure (such as bike paths and bike parking), traffic calming, training and education programs, and other supportive measures” (Dill, Jennifer). Obviously, the key word to this entire issue is education; schools are forming the values of the next era of humanity.
If the following generation is not capable of understanding simple traffic signs, how to drive safely nor the daily impact the use of a car is having on our planet, they are slowly taking steps toward a world full of ignorant people, who will fail in their attempt to make our planet a better place. Surprisingly, teachers sometimes do not take their jobs as educators seriously and do not see the bike topic as an important factor in our society. America could experience a decrease in traffic accidents, where children are involved, not by reducing cyclists, but by educating properly America’s youth. In addition, Teachers and parents should encourage their children and students to ride their bikes more frequently, what could prevent them from obesity and pollution.
“Obesity and physical inactivity among younger people is a major issue we have to tackle and biking has proved a very popular after-school activity with the youngsters” (Milford, Lynne), noticed Chris French, a senior public health specialist at NHS North East Essex, about the biking-program he has done in various schools as an extracurricular activity. Indeed, Chris French is setting a fabulous role model for us to follow, but our final goal is to incorporate bicycle education in our official education system, so it is obligatory for every single child who goes to a public school. In this way we can encourage them to do more exercising and learn from an early age on most of the important traffic signs to be better prepared when they have to do their license test in the future.
If parents cannot afford to pay their children some kind of extracurricular activity outside from school, bicycling is a cheap alternative way that can be extremely pleasant for children in every age and adults in its various forms of use, such as “…mountain bicycling, racing bicycling, touring bicycling or BMX biking” (Baxamusa, Batul); fortunately, the numerous diversity of using a bicycle can appeal to all kinds of different people. Also, the excessively use of videogame is harming the next generation, because they entertain themselves for hours by not moving any body part, but their fingers making the burning of calories almost impossible.
Besides the violence of this inadequate videogames reflects on the children, which start being disrespectful towards their parents and not obeying their restrictions. The routine would become eventually a vicious cycle, because the children keep disobeying their parents and playing more videogames. Although “33 percent of children and teens are obese in the United States” (Stein, Cherie), the majority of parents lamentably do not distinguish nor accept the overweight of their own children; due to the discriminating society we live in. A combination of lack of physical activity, genetic factors and unhealthy eating patterns is the major cause of obesity in children, enforced by their unwillingness to do exercise and outside-playing activities. Fortunately, two of these causes, physical activity and eating patterns, can be controlled closely by educators and parents, if they have a strong initiative toward their children.
Children are easy to manipulate; if a parent or a teacher enthusiastically encouraged children to ride their bikes at least once a week and combined it with a healthy diet, the number of obese young people in the United States could easily be reduced. Also, bicycling cannot only decrease heart and lung diseases, but also asthma and overweight related diseases. Not only are the children in danger of healthy risks, but also in danger to the exposure of peers bullying them for their overweight. Eventually this type of harassment can lead to lower self-esteem and even mental harm. If a person has the tool to prevent and solve a serious problem with horrible consequences, this person should not waste a minute more on thinking this problem through, but solve it instantly.
Most children in the United States have enough money to buy a videogame console, thus they should have enough money to buy at least a second-hand bicycle, making the issue of missing money irrelevant. Riding their bicycles to school, and in general as a common way of transportation, would surely prevent them from serious health problems and from loosing their self-esteem because of bullying by some of their peers. Besides the positive change the use of a bicycle can have on a human body and even mind as they relax on their way, they help reduce pollution, as they do not create any carbon emissions. “Based on the mechanical energy used … the bicycle is roughly 10 times more efficient [than a car]” (Lawyer, David). David Lawyer has been studying for several years how much energy a vehicle of transportation needs and how much pollution it causes.
Worthwhile, he calculated from the energy to produce a car and a bicycle, to the pollution they cause in a total and general view. Undoubtedly, the comparison turned out, as expected, to be favoring the bicycles, but now official by showing all his research to the public in his website. Providentially, SanFrancisco was performing a massive plan to improve the bicycle-conditions in this enormous, populated, urban city. Conscious officials wanted to create more bike parking, bike lanes and other cycling incentives, but one man, Rob Anderson, stopped the whole process by arguing “By eliminating some car parking spaces and traffic lanes to make room for more cyclists, the biking plan would create more traffic jams and more pollution” (Dvorak, Phred), and he demanded an environmental impact study before anything could be continued.
Lamentably, a Californian superior court judge agreed with him, and so by stopped all pro-cycling activities until the study was done. Obviously, his argument did not have a certain point, because “a bicycle does not have any carbon emissions” (Forester, John), thus a bicycle is not harming the environment in any way and if a solution to pollution really existed, it would be to limit the car use instead of the bike use.
Furthermore, every cyclist stands for one less car on the road and is amiably helping to “reduce approximately 31.37 pounds of carbon dioxide” (McNamara, Melissa), which will not pollute our atmosphere. The whole juristic issue took two years plus two years of studying the environmental impact, thus San Francisco had to wait until 2010 for the whole process to start where it had left. It is incredible how an insignificant individual could harm a whole city and part of the solution to a worldwide problem in such an arrogant manner. Instead of questioning the benefits of cycling, responsible citizen should consider all the consequences and detriments the excessively use of automobiles has been having on our atmosphere for the last couple of decades.
Easily, a person can contribute to prevent the humanity of catastrophic after-effects, but teachers and parents could emphasize more the importance of a change in our society by improving the education on their students and children. Altruistic, individually contribution is required to make a significant change on the issues of global warming, acid rain, ozone thinning and other negative effects of air pollution, which the destructive impact of cars has been having in our world. Clearly, elementary schools in the United States of America do not satisfy the deficit of the bicycling information in the education system in order to prevent their students from eventual traffic accidents, perhaps even death and to encourage the next generation to use their bicycles more frequently.
Instead of reducing bicyclers by persuading them bicycling is too dangerous, the American education system should rather implement rules and signs of bicycling to their students. Higher self-esteem and better health, mentally and physically, could be important benefits in children’s live in result of bicycling. An enormous change in our atmosphere and living customs would happen if the present and next cohort of humans learned to appreciate the extraordinary activity of cycling. Saving 630 lives of sons and daughters in a year should not be a topic to discuss, but to be set immediately in action and support the greatest invention a human ever made, the bicycle. Works Cited Baxamusa, Batul N. “Ride You Weight off.” Easy Health and Living Oct. 2008: 31-32.
“Bicycle Crash Facts.” Bicyclinginfo.org. University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, and Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. Web. 27 Jan. 2011.
Dill, Jennifer. “Editorial Board.” Preventive Medicine 37.1 (2003): 24-25. Print. Dvorak, Phred. “San Francisco Ponders: Could Bike Lanes Cause Pollution?” Wall
Street Journal (2008): A1. Print. Forester, John. Bicycle Transportation. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1983. Print. McNamara, Melissa. “Air Pollution Facts – CBS Evening News – CBS News.” Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment and World News – CBS News. 31 Jan. 2007. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. .
Milford, Lynne. “Bike Plan to Tackle Childhood Obesity.” The Daily Gazette. 12 May 2009. Print. Lawyer, David S. “Compare to an Automobile.” Bicycle Energy. L.A. Free Net, July 2010. Web Perez, Tzirath. Personal interview. 09 Dec. 2010. Putcher, John. “Infrastructure, Programs, and Policies to Increase Bicycling: An International Review.” Rev. of Increasing Bicycling Policies. Mar. 2010: 15-17. Print. Stein, Cherie. Your Child: A Recipe for Healthy Happy Children. Burleigh, Qld.: Zeus Publications, 2008. 16. Print.