Didn't have all this kit and caboodle in the past…!
Gone are the days when children rode their bikes without wearing a helmet, when child seats for cars had not been heard of and there were no traffic-reduced zones yet - and not a moment too soon! After all, the number of children killed in traffic accidents in Germany has been falling for almost four decades, despite a much higher volume of traffic today. Technical innovation, an improved infrastructure and a society which is fully aware of these issues have contributed to this development. However, the situation remains difficult in other parts of the world where there is an acute need to catch up with regards to road safety. And one thing applies for all children worldwide: their cognitive skills are not yet fully developed, and as a result they are still particularly vulnerable road users.
The saddle pulled out, the backrest pointing straight up, the handlebars looming up into the sky and decorated with streamers: The bonanza bike, the epitome of coolness in the playground and schoolyard alike, had been the object of desire of thousands of children in North America and Europe since the late 1960s. Anybody who thought anything of himself and could talk his parents into buying the small-wheeled semi-chopper, navigated his way through the streets of his neighborhood on it.
Four decades later, many former bonanza bike riders are now fathers and mothers themselves, and have been for a long time. And now it is their children who can be seen on wheels - on inline skates, kickboards, skateboards and of course, the bicycle. The memories which today's generation of parents have of the good old days are not infrequently tinged with melancholy; looking back, there was always enough room to play, even on the streets, and everything seemed somehow easier. Cumbersome bicycle helmets were unheard of, and when the family set off on its annual vacation, the young ones played and dozed off on the backseat without all these expensive, complicated child seats and belt systems. "Every year, when we headed off to Italy on vacation, my brother and I ran riot on the backseat because we were so bored,“ says Oliver Mayer*. Today, he himself is the father of two children and it goes without saying that they are "firmly buckled up, even if we're just nipping around to the baker's", emphasizes the 42-year-old inhabitant of Frankfurt.