In my mind the perfect world is a world where every child would be able to ride their Green Tricycle up the center of their downtown. A child could ride to preschool, they could ride to the park, they could ride to their best friend’s house, they could ride to the grocery store, they could ride at dawn and they could ride to grandma’s house.
What does our society need for a child to be able to ride a Green Tricycle up the streets of San Francisco? Detroit? Compton? Manitwoc? Bloomfield?
For a child to be able ride a Green Tricycle her parents would need to be secure. Her parents would need income, a place to stay and enough food that food would not be an issue. Her parents would have to have more than enough.
For a child to be able to ride a Green Tricycle her parents would also need to have the flexibility to take off from work or not even have to go to work if they didn’t want to.
Teaching a child a skill, whether it be riding a tricycle, writing their name or baking cookies, takes free time from an adult in a child’s life.
The adults in a child’s life would have to have real free time. Not just a day off from work. Free time with no worrying about if a bill is going to be paid. Free time with no worrying if taking off today, because it is sunny might lead to unemployment and poverty. Real free time, free time where your mind and body are free.
In order for a child to be able ride a Green Tricycle the streets would need to be safe. Safe for a 4-year-old. Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair would have to be safe. Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles would have to be safe. 42nd Street in New York would have to be safe.
The streets would need to be Complete Streets. The designs of the road would make it easy to see a child riding her tricycle up the side of road. It would be easy to transport that tricycle along with her guardian’s bicycle or wheelchair on public transit, because public transit would be plentiful, frequent and accessible. It would be OK if a child wandered into the road with cars, because there would be systems in place to deal with human error from both 4-year-olds and 84 year-olds. Our society would have fewer cars, because we would all have guaranteed income. No one would have to be anywhere at any particular time, so the need to quickly be somewhere unpleasant would no longer be a problem. Our communities would be less compartmentalized. Our grocery store would be next door, our childcare would be up the street and our cultural centers would be around the corner from where we live. The idea of “downtown” would change from a place you go to, to a place you live.
In order for every child in every town to be able ride a Green Tricycle the streets would also need to be free from crime.
For us to have a society free from crime our society would need to be fair and just. We would not have sexism, heterosexism, racism, nationalism, ableism, classism or the police. Everyone would help everyone else. Everyone would want to help everyone else. Everyone would feel important and fulfilled. If a person was in trouble, they would just ask for help. We would have policies to support the poor and disadvantaged or better yet, we would not have poor or disadvantaged people, because we would have an economy that was based on cooperation and not exploitation.
For every child in every town to be able ride a Green Tricycle we would have to have no poor people, because why should a person have to live that way and why should children be normalized to the idea that some people need to be poor and suffering? Children need to understand that we all should be sharing.
For every child to be able to ride a Green Tricycle the streets would also have to be accessible for adults who are disabled, because they have kids too and they want to teach their children how to ride a Green Tricycles.
If a world was filled with children riding Green Tricycles, whenever they wanted, we would have to stop moving around so quickly. We would have to miss deadlines, because it would be fun watching that little boy go around in circles in front of the coffee shop.
If our goal was for every child to be able ride a Green Tricycle our fights would all have to be intersectional. We would have to care about cis-women and that trans-men, because everyone’s happiness and everyone’s mobility would impact everyone else’s happiness and mobility.
If our goal was for every child to be able to ride a Green Tricycle up main street, we would have to create a world where everyone mattered.
by Teka-Lark Lo
First photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters
Second photo credit: Lourdie Tricycle Backyard Barbecue May 01, 20104 (stevendepolo) by stevendepolo (flickr)