In a lecture I gave in Vermont once, I stressed the point that bicycle
paths should be built for Vermont's children. We don't have public
transportation for them to stay longer at after school programs, get to a rec
center or pool in the summer or travel to a friend's house. Often, both
parents work leaving kids in the rural state always at home. While Vermont
doesn't have latchkey kids because the door doesn't need to be locked,
Vermont does have home-tied (and TV watching) kids because they have no safe
means to travel on their own. Even if they had a bike, the shoulderless
roads don't provide them safe passage to the activities which are always
accessed on busy roads. Finally, obesity does exist in the rural population
of Vermont kids. Actively getting around town and then participating in
sports would result in healthier kids.
One additional reason the pitch was focused on the kids is the rural
Vermont parents would be a harder sell. They probably wouldn't put on lycra
and start roller blading on a bicycle path but they could understand the
logic of providing their children with a safe means of transportation.
Bottom line. Rural Vermont just doesn't have a bus system and it needs
to provide all citizens with a means for self transport. For seniors and
children who can't drive, that means safe and connected sidewalks and bicycle
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