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  1. #1
    Dream it, Do it.
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    Will riding bikes give kids better skills for driving as teenagers?

    Just a hypothetical question...

    I see so many drivers using the brake, throttle, and steering wheel as an on/off switch. I wonder if kids learning to ride a bike, especially offroad, would give them the motor skills to operate other moving vehicles with a higher level of finesse? Locking up the brakes riding offroad puts a kid on the ground quickly. Taking an on/off approach to steering a bike is a likely precursor to an endo. It seems to me that some of these bike riding skills must be transferable to some degree to driving a car.

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I learned to ride bikes before I learned to drive. I commuted to high school by bike on and off for most of high school. I think it helped.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    I think, as you've pointed out, that getting a feel for the physics of acceleration, turning, and braking, and the limits of each, can be helpful. Then there's the topic of traffic rules. It's probably helpful there too, just as long as kids don't actually pick up bad habits violating traffic laws without tickets or even warnings.

  4. #4
    ilmfat
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    i see the biggest bonus being the development of the "looking down the trail" skill set.

    the worst drivers i know watch the car in front of them.

    the best watch the whole road, as far as they can see.
    crap! i gotta learn to climb.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilmfat View Post
    i see the biggest bonus being the development of the "looking down the trail" skill set.

    the worst drivers i know watch the car in front of them.

    the best watch the whole road, as far as they can see.
    I agree. I got my license at the way too young age of 14 (Montana) and I think riding dirt bikes and bikes on the country roads helped a lot. We learned "assume nobody see's you" from an early age.

  6. #6
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    I do not see where it will harm them, especially if they are riding roads and are getting used to traffic pattern and as mentioned above, "assume nobody see's you". Does not matter if you are on a bike or in a car, many other drivers DO NOT PAY ATTENTION.

    Also, many teens are easily distracted, let it be because of others in the car or worse cell phones. Read one article a few years back that showed texting while driving was just as bad as driving under the influence for young drivers. Sadly, one of my former students was killed the night after graduation. She was texting.

  7. #7
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    Besides bicycles, my 9 y/o has also been riding dirt bikes and snowmobiles for a number of years. I've also let him drive my truck on our property and in some other out-of-the-way spots since he was 5 or so (with me sitting in the driver's seat along with him, of course). Bikes are a good place to start, but I think they really learn a lot more from actual motorized vehicles.

    On a side note, locking up the brakes and laying down big ol' skids in dirt is one of the funnest things I can remember doing as a young kid on a bike. Long before there was an IMBA, or mountain bikes for that matter, before old people start wagging their fingers saying skidding is bad for the dirt, we would have all sorts of skid and 'power slide' contests. It's good to get comfortable with what happens when you get on the wrong side of traction.
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  8. #8
    ilmfat
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    Like my brother always says,

    "loss of traction is cool."

    "The ditch sucks".
    crap! i gotta learn to climb.

  9. #9
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    I really feel that bike riding is a good learning tool for drivers. I know I employ a lot of what I practice in biking, especially in races, to my driving. Whether it is looking ahead for obstacles, obstructions that might be new to the trail that were not there the last time or looking for other trail users that I might need to react to. For us up here in Alaska, watching for moose/bears on the trails is very similar to watching for them on the roads. I feel that bike racing has helped my driving a lot. When riding in packs, on roads or trails, you learn a lot about judging closing speeds, using peripheral vision to monitor what is going on beside/behind you, etc... I find I can drive in fairly heavy traffic a lot without braking nearly as much just because I can judge what the guy ahead of me is likely to do based on what is going on around them. This is really a learned thing that you have to get good at to be a strong racer. Mountain biking definitely helps to improve a person's reaction time which translates to just about anything else they do, including driving.

  10. #10
    Dream it, Do it.
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    For me, I think biking made me comfortable with two things before a learned to drive a car:

    1. Allowing a car move around a bit.
    2. Understanding momentum which is why driving a stick shift feels more realistic than driving an automatic.

    A bike was my first "vehicle"!

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