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Letter: Long Island kids need 'pocket bicycle parks'

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The July 31 exploreLI story “Bicycling with caution” told how fewer kids are riding bikes on Long Island, largely due to concerns about dangerous roads.

With increases in traffic and distracted driving, bicyclists need separate areas. I would like to see “pocket bicycle parks” in every community. Such parks can be built in small, unused areas of existing community parks. They’re like a skate park, but built of dirt and generally inexpensive to create. Costs could be offset with grants or grassroots fundraising. A community of caretakers could help keep the area clean and safe. My organization built one in Cunningham Park in Queens.

At pocket parks, kids can practice bike-handling skills. BMX-type bikes are usually the first that young people can afford, but there are few places to fully enjoy this Olympic sport that are free of charge.

Our local parks departments build dog parks, but they should also consider pocket bicycle parks. Bicycling keeps people healthy, and if it’s fun, they will do it more often.

Michael Vitti,

  Glen Head

Editor’s note: The writer is president of Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists.

Help girls develop healthy friendships

It is sobering that girls bear the brunt of the rise in online bullying [“Digital distress calls,” News, July 28].

Unfortunately for girls, online friendships are often filled with the not-always-kind voices of other girls. Bully intervention programs need to be modified to help teen girls safely negotiate and navigate friendships. A greater focus on helping girls develop healthy and positive friendships, as well as expanding strategies to stop cyberbullying, can help reduce the anxiety, depression and helplessness many girls experience.

In this age of girl power, it is critical that all of us inspire and motivate our girls to be the best they can be.

Debbie Mullarkey and Patti Cathers,

  Roslyn

Editor’s note: The writers are executive director and director of programs, respectively, for Child Abuse Prevention Services, a nonprofit educational organization.

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