I snapped this photo walking past my local preschool this morning. Sorry, it’s a little blurry but folks don’t like you talking photos of preschools (for obvious reasons), so I couldn’t stand around making sure the shot was perfect. It was more of taking a photo whilst still walking kind of thing. In Germany, preschools don’t have heaps of strollers sitting out the front in an undercover section, instead they have lots of tiny bikes. This is because, in my neighbourhood at least, the preschoolers ride their own bikes to preschool.
In Germany, parents get their kids onto bikes almost as soon as they can walk. My local Platz is often full of toddlers zooming around on balance bikes. Once they hit about 3 or so, the kids upgrade to their very own regular bike without any training wheels attached. Since bike riding is allowed on footpaths these little kids ride everywhere usually closely followed by one of their parents, who will have a younger sibling sitting on the back of their bike in a child seat. This can make walking past the preschool at drop-off time rather risky, as whilst the preschooler has learnt how to ride, their steering skills are often under developed.
This phenomenon does explain however why Germans choose to ride their bikes everywhere and why they are so comfortable on them. They have literally been riding a bike since they learned how to walk. Given how screwed up our environment is, it would be great to see other cities around the world (excluding Amsterdam of course) getting kids onto bikes at a younger age and introducing bike lanes on the footpath rather than on the street to allow kids (and adults too) to ride around the city more safely.