STREETFILMS: How Kids Get to School in a Civilized, Safe Country

Here's how they do it in Amsterdam. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.
Here's how they do it in Amsterdam. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

In the United States — even in car-minority New York City — our children’s lives are entirely framed by the automobile.

Katelinja Boerma, bike mayor of Amsterdam.
Katelinja Boerma, bike mayor.

And most often, their deaths are framed by them, too.

In the U.S., of course, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of children up to age 19. Yet all too often, parents say they drive their children around — to school, on errands, to recreation — to keep them safe.

Reminder: if the roads aren’t safe for our kids, it’s because of the drivers, not the roads.

The roads aren’t going away any time soon, so clearly we need to use them better, so parents can feel safe letting their kids walk or bike to school — which is where Streetfilms comes in.

Yes, we sent the Orson Welles of the streets, Clarence Eckerson Jr., to Amsterdam for yet another primer on how basic, short-haul transportation is handled in countries that care about their children’s lives.

Take a moment to watch — and picture how it could be here, if we had proper leadership and the political will to put cars back in their place: away from our kids.

Watch as 100s of Kids & Parents Bicycle to one Amsterdam School from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

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As someone who lives in Brooklyn and pedals a two-year-old to daycare three days a week, I find the scenes depicted in this video to be completely incredible. There is no question in my mind that the future of New York City has to look something like this. –Editor Portland’s Safe Routes to SchoolA Clarence […]