Around these parts there are all manner of jokes about cyclists. And I know that cyclists poke fun at/ ridicule/rail on and on about drivers. It's a two-way street. Yes. I know.
Sometimes, however, I see things that make me scratch my head with one hand and work really hard to refrain from dialing Child Protective Services with the other. Riding on crazy-busy streets with little kids is one such thing. Whether on their own little bikes or in a seat attached to the grown-up bike or in one of those cute little trailer thingies... seriously, people, what in the hell are you thinking? Granted I have seen some such situations where it is clear that this is the family mode of transportation by necessity, and in those situations, I just look upward and say a prayer for them. But when mommy or daddy is out tra-la-la-ing and junior is skittering all over the place without a helmet on...
We are not in the Netherlands! This is not a quaint, picturesque village bike path! This is (sadly) not an environment where motorists are conditioned to be able to dodge your meandering child! This is a main thoroughfare with speed limit of 35 and everyone exceeds that! Do not ride here with your kid!
I am able to deep-breathe my way through these moments usually, but the other morning I saw something that made me cringe...recoil...And then I saw the bigger picture and found it even more disturbing. There was a lightning quick flicker of "hey, that's kind of cool!" until reality set in and the danger was apparent.
It was a dad riding on the bike pictured below. Behind him was his kindergartener, shakily riding a two-wheeler sans helmet (I used the french word for 'without' because they were going to the french school). Dad was also sans helmet. In the big box in front of the bike was a two-year old...thankfully wearing a helmet! The toddler was sitting on the white bench seat. There is no seat belt or harness... just a little 1/2-inch wide leash to hold.
What do you think about the safety-factor?
I am being totally honest when I own my judgement of this parent and say...
Not the sharpest tool in the shed.
As smart as a stick.
Not the brightest crayon in the box.
Dumber than a box of hair.
A few sandwiches short of a picnic.
About as sharp as a marble.
A couple of pineapples shy of a luau.
I wish we lived in a more bicycle-friendly area, but we don't. I don't think this guy is from around here. Well, maybe he is. Berkeleyans are famous for self-righteously indignant behavior even when safety is compromised and sanity disregarded. I can say that because I'm from here. I can't stop him from doing stupid stuff...I know that. I just wish he'd at least get his older kid a helmet.