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Kidical Mass: families cycle around the world calling for safer cities

The annual family-friendly bike rides are intended to highlight kids are traffic, too, and make the case for safe cycling provision suitable for all ages

Families are expected to flock to city streets around the world this weekend as part of annual “Kidical Mass” events, highlighting the fact cycling is for everyone, and not just people in Lycra.

The rides are intended to send the message "kids are traffic too", and to make the case for everyday journeys by bike for all ages. 

Kidical Mass, a play on the Critical Mass rides, started life in 2008 in Oregon, USA, and has quickly spread across the US and around the world. In the UK rides will take place in London and Dunbar, East Lothian on Saturday, Manchester (Sunday) and Sale. 

Families flock to London's Cycle Superhighways

One of the London event’s organisers, Sylvia Gauthereau, said: “It is to draw attention to the thousands of families who already cycle in London for every day trips and to show transport planners and politicians that roads need to also be designed for smaller riders and family journeys”.

“As family cycling using child seats, cargo bikes, tandems and lots of variations has really taken off in London, many families want to share the fun and raise awareness.”

Among those taking part elsewhere in the world Spokane, Portland (Oregon), Missoula and Seattle in the US, as well as Stockholm in Sweden. Some cities hold family events more than once a year.

Organiser of the Oklahoma Kidical Mass, Tom Peryam, said: “It’s not the same kind of hard-edged activism as Critical Mass but it is still activism.

“It’s about showing the parents who come on the rides how easy it is to get around on a bike as a true transportation option, not just as a recreational thing.”

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Manchester’s Kidical Mass ride, on Sunday at 11am, starts from Sale Waterside, before heading to Walton Park, along the Bridgewater Way.

In London, riders will congregate at 11.30am in Trinity Square Gardens, EC3N4 on Saturday, before riding along the new Cycle Superhighway 3, aka the East-West Cycle Superhighway, to St James Park.

Hundreds turned up to London’s inaugural ride last year, and around 50 families flocked to the city streets in June for an additional event.

After last year’s event, London Kidical Mass organiser, Ruth-Anna MacQueen, said: "We had a fantastic time and the kids loved it. Almost 100 people turned up, and the sun shone. Children ages 4 and up on their own bikes, trailers, tagalongs, front seats, back seats and possibly the largest collection of cargobikes London has seen!”

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