Biking in Sunnyvale is quite different than biking in Holland. I’ve been riding the Bakfiets around the neighborhood and to Charlie’s school, but haven’t ventured out much further. It’s actually not as safe to ride bikes here as it is in Holland. As you can see, there aren’t bike paths on the neighborhood streets and the main streets do not have clearly marked or separated paths to protect bikers from automobiles and buses. It’s actually not legal to ride your bike on the sidewalks where pedestrians have the right of way, but Charlie felt safer riding on this surface and to be honest, I think he liked the dips in the sidewalk where the sidewalk met the driveways and streets. He could pretend he was going over jumps, as if he were dirt bike riding. I think I heard a few “Whee! Whee!”‘s in there.
We are also back to wearing helmets again. Children under the age of 18 must wear a helmet by law and I wear mine too when on my cruiser bike, just to be a tad bit safer and to set a good example.
Biking was fun this morning and I’m feeling a tiny bit better about letting them go out on their own, but not just yet! I’m still scared for their safety. I wish that California shared the biking infrastructure and passion that Holland has, especially with our beautiful weather. But for now, it really isn’t very safe and is definitely risky when you choose to go out riding, especially during heavy traffic flow periods.
Two people were killed this week that I’ve heard about just in California. One woman, Joy Covey, was riding her bike downhill near Woodside when a van turned left in front of her and she died instantly. She was a mama, just slightly older than me with a young boy slightly younger than mine. My heart aches for her and her family and I keep reliving her experience in my mind. And then today, a young 12 year old boy died while he rode his bike to school in Contra Costa County. He was riding on the wrong side of the road and was getting ready to pull into his school parking lot, when another parent from the middle school turned right and onto the highway, not even seeing him. Burgess Hu was an only child and was wearing a helmet but did not survive. The woman wasn’t even going 10 miles per hour! I can’t even imagine the pain these families and community are feeling. Wishing peace for these families as they experience the deepest grief.
Be safe out there, friends – whether you’re driving or riding, look both ways, slow down, make eye contact and be kind and courteous.