Orlando Kids Take Back the Streets — By Bike
"They want to ride to school. So they do."
That's the message at the end of this terrific video about a student-initiated bike bus in Orlando, Florida -- a city with some of the meanest streets in the nation. Shot by Robert Seidler and edited by CommuteOrlando Blog's Keri Caffrey, it comes to us courtesy of Streetsblog Network member 4onaQuarter.
Many of the kids in the video are members of a nascent bike club being formed by one of 4onaQuarter's authors, who is a teacher at a local high school. But the bike bus isn't something that was initiated by grown-ups; it was conceived and executed by the kids. It's a powerful demonstration of the positive influence that young people can have on each other. Maybe they'll influence some adults too.
4onaQuarter's Angie told us more about it in an e-mail:
For the bike bus in the video, there were about 15 kids. It is a regular thing and new people are joining the club and bike bus every day. They have set it up that they plan on riding unless otherwise noted. The kids treat it like an actual bus. Several kids have seen the bus pass by day after day and then decide to join it. There is a set start point and other kids join in along the ride.
This club is definitely "the thing" to do at the school right now. The school is located in a district where a lot of people ride out of necessity, so I can't say cycling was a cool thing before. I would say many people saw people riding and associated it with the poorest members of their community. The club is changing perceptions among the students for sure. Additionally, these kids understand that they are changing perceptions about Orlando as a cycling city and they are all over it.
Note that both boys and girls are riding. And there's a great mix of bike types, too -- from BMX to road bikes.
As for the helmet issue, which we know will come up, Angie writes:
[It]was discussed at the following bike club meeting and it was as simple as deciding that the club would design a team helmet. "The football team wears helmets and nobody questions that," they reasoned. Seriously?? So just like that, helmets are part of the club.
More lights are being distributed to club members, too.
We humbly tip our helmets to these Orlando kids.