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Kidical Mass

Posted by on September 17th, 2008 at 2:08 pm

This Friday there are 4 rides.

All rides will meet at 6:00pm and will leave promptly at 6:15 this month now that it’s getting darker. And please bring lights!

Ride details and FAQ as follows:

Downtown ride (the PDXKM original!)
– meet at 6pm at the North Park Blocks playground on the side closest to the concrete climbing structure
– bike decorating and safety talk from 6 – 6:15
– ride leaves at 6:15
– ride ends at Ben & Jerry’s!
(starting next month the ride will end at a donated space across from Ben & Jerry’s for a family pot luck on a monthly basis- start planning now!)

N/NE ride
– meet at 6pm at the Peninsula Park playground
– bike decorating and safety talk from 6 – 6:15
– ride leaves at 6:15
– ride end location to be determined

SE ride
– meet at 6pm at the Sunnyside Environmental School playground
– bike decorating and safety talk from 6 – 6:15
– ride leaves at 6:15
– ride ends at Sunnyside

Sellwood ride
– meet at 6pm at the Sellwood Pool
– bike decorating and safety talk from 6 – 6:15
– ride leaves at 6:15
– ride ends at Sellwood Pool

Is this just like Critical Mass but with kids?
Absolutely not. We are a family friendly law-abiding ride. Our purpose is to teach kids, parents and caregivers safety skills and provide a ride in which to practice them. We are creating awareness for the growing presence of kids and families on bikes and the need for all road users to respect other users of the road. We are also bringing together families who bike in an effort to provide a positive community experience that will show children how much fun riding your bike can be!

Are we required to have a parade permit to ride in KM?
No. We are riding as a group, following all traffic laws and are not required to have a permit since we are not purposefully stopping traffic or blocking traffic. It’s true we may be slow as snails and therefore slow traffic, but bikes are allowed to ride in traffic and other road users can pass or take an alternate route as they see fit.

Do we have to ride in the bike lane if there is one?
Yes. By law, if there is a bike lane you may only leave the lane if it’s unsafe for you to remain in it, or if you are turning.

Are we allowed to ‘take the lane’?
Absolutely. When it’s the safest place to ride, take the lane. Otherwise, ride to the right of the lane unless you are making a left turn. Also, ride in the lane furthest to the right, unless it’s safer to ride in a middle or left lane. Your ride leader will give clear instructions on where you should be.

Is it really that safe to ride as a group?
Absolutely. The more cyclists the safer the roads, so keep on riding!

What if I have more than one kid to keep track of on the ride?
Ride leaders encourage all parents to take responsibility for all young cyclists so you should feel comfortable in knowing there are many eyes and ears on the road helping out. We also have volunteers to ride with us who do not have kids as well as a ride ‘sweeper’ who stays in the back of the pack. However, you should still be very aware of your own child’s location and behavior as you are ultimately responsible for your child’s safety.

Will my kid get left behind?
No. We have a ride ‘sweeper’ who stays in the back of the group to make sure no one is left. Also, the ride leader will stop as many times as necessary to make sure the group stays together since it’s safer and more fun that way! Since we are not stopping traffic or blocking traffic this may mean it’s the slowest ride you’ll ever take.

What if we need to stop or leave the ride?
You can stop at any time and walk your bike to the end location. If you are Downtown and choose to walk, please remember you may not ride your bike on the sidewalk in Downtown Portland!

Are helmets required?
Yes. By law all children 16 and under must wear a helmet, and the ride leaders strongly encourage all riders to wear helmets. We like to see parents and caregivers modeling the correct behavior and safest riding practices for the kids.

For more detailed information on the laws that protect cyclists and how to ride safely the BTA has a wealth of resources. You can take a free legal clinic, we can provide a family commuting workshop to your school or organization or we can work with you to provide Safe Routes to School information and resources. I encourage you to take advantage of any of these options available to you. I also encourage you to join the BTA since we are a member organization that relies on a growing membership in order to continue to provide effective advocacy and programs to make our roads safer for bicycling.

See you all Friday!

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