As I was riding home last night, I encountered this scene. A gentlemen pushing his nephew on his bicycle up the Queensboro Bridge bike path as his other nephew walked alongside. It was such a tender scene and in a way, a metaphor for life. It’s our responsibility to take care of the next generation: protecting and teaching them how to be independent as they navigate life and with a love that is unconditional.
Kids look up to adults. We are their role models. It’s sweet that this little boy wanted to ride his uncle’s bicycle, a bicycle that is too big for him to pedal yet. I’ve done the same thing for my nieces across Central Park- they wanted to ride my bicycle but were too small to be able to pedal. It’s my hope that memory and the fact that they know I ride my bike everywhere might encourage them choose bicycles for transportation as they grow older. Without infrastructure- that choice will be harder for them to make.
In a sense, the bicycle infrastructure that is being built in NYC (and other cities) is also a metaphor for navigating through life. Protected bicycle paths make it safe enough for everyone to choose bicycles for transportation. They encourage independence in childhood and help to maintain it in our later years. Hopefully, by the time this little boy reaches adulthood- the infrastructure in NYC will be complete and it will be safe enough for his future children to bicycle to school, to friends or wherever they need to go. Dutch style infrastructure encourages relaxed and social cycling. Not everyone will choose a bicycle for transportation and that’s OK. But everyone should be able to have the choice – not just the strong and fearless. No matter how you navigate through life, we all want the same thing: to be safe, happy and free of worries. Let’s keep building better streets for future generations. Complete streets are better for everyone- pedestrians and motorists included.