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Kids and biking to school, an idea.(12 posts)

Kids and biking to school, an idea.theBreeze
Nov 20, 2003 6:57 AM
This morning I was once again reading about how fewer kids are biking/walking to school. There are obviously multiple reasons, but one routinely cited is that parents don't feel it's safe to let their kids ride. So I had an idea. Could cyclists who are familiar with safe commute routes in their area act as "bicyle mentors" for kids and their parents? They could hold an advertised meeting a couple times a year to demonstrate the where's and how's of riding to their local schools. Meet at a few strategic locations, ride as a group to and from the school, educate about safe riding and stuff. Get the parents riding along too so they get to know how it's done. Do it again in the spring when the weather warms up.

Not all areas have safe riding routes, and probably one of the more dangerous places trafficwise is in front of the school itself where parents are dropping kids off. But I think these sessions could help make kids and parents aware of the issues around bikes, traffic, safe and sensible sharing of MUTs and all the stuff we rant about on this board.

Comments and suggestions welcome. Anybody already doing something like this?
Safety Town is a similar concept...biknben
Nov 20, 2003 7:48 AM
During the '80's in my area there was a program called Safety Town. A small town layout was painted on the playground. It contained streets, intersections, crosswalks, etc. At least once a year the kids were gathered and a police officer would host a session on traffic safety. Stop signs and traffic signals were put up at the intersections and the kids rode around as if they were cars.

The kids were probably in the 5-7 yo range. Some rode trikes while others had bikes. I don't know if this program continues now.

I think your idea goes beyond this but someting like Safety Town could be a start. At least get the kids to think about traffic safety and the rules of the road.
There's also the other safety issueNatC
Nov 20, 2003 8:03 AM
not of bicycle safety but safety from malevolent people. Most parents I know (including myself) are more reluctant about letting their kids out of their sight than when I was growing up. Back then ('70's to '80's) we'd leave the house after breakfast and go ride our bikes unattended all day long, all over the place. As long as we were home by dinner time, our parents weren't concerned. Now though, I wouldn't feel at all comfortable letting my kid do that.

Having adult escorts to ride with your kids to school might help, but then again it'd be easy for someone to masquerade as one and trick your kid into following them somewhere other than school.
There's also the other safety issuetheBreeze
Nov 20, 2003 8:30 AM
You are correct in that this is a big perceived threat. As a parent myself it's always in the back of my mind. But I think the true magnitude has been way overstated by the media. Time after time statistics have borne out that a kid is much more likely to be molested or in some way harmed by a relative or close family friend. That's not to say the "stranger danger" is non-existant, but news shows, talk shows etc has fed the general public's paranoia.
Sorry to say, I have to agree with NatScot_Gore
Nov 20, 2003 8:40 AM
I've tried to not let the Jacob Wetterling story cloud my behavior and choices to a great degree, but, sorry to say it has. Specifically about riding the bike unsupervised. If your not faniliar with the story, I cut it off JWF website.

While returning home from a convenience store Jacob, 11, his brother Trevor, 10 and a friend Aaron, 11 were riding their bikes home when a masked man came out of a driveway, ordered the boys to throw their bikes into the ditch, turn off their flashlights, and lie face down on the ground. The gunman asked each of the boys their age. After the boys responded, he instructed Trevor to run into the woods and not to look back or he would shoot him. Next the gunman turned Aaron over, looked into his face, and told him to run into woods or he would shoot him. As Trevor and Aaron were running away, they glanced back to see the gunman grab Jacob's arm. When Aaron and Trevor reached the wooded area, they turned around again, and the gunman and Jacob were gone.

I don't feel comfortable letting my child get too far away for too long. This very criminal is within an hours drive of my home.

Scot
Oh, I definatly see your point.theBreeze
Nov 20, 2003 8:47 AM
Things like that freak me out too. Especially when it is uncomfortably close to home. I don't know what the answer is.
A balance of education, community awareness and parental vigilance I guess.
BTW: Have you heard of the Safe Routes to School initiative ?Scot_Gore
Nov 20, 2003 8:56 AM
The Safe Routes to School initiative has gotten allot of support and help from the cycling industry the last couple of years. If you're not familiar with it, you might want to take a read.

Here's the inititives website:
http://www.saferoutestoschools.org/

Here's America Bikes website if you want to see the bike biz's connection to the program.
http://www.americabikes.org/

Scot
What about Polly Klaas?Alexx
Nov 20, 2003 1:29 PM
She was abducted from her bedroom! I'm surprised you'd leave your kids alone even in the house with kids being abducted like that!

Seriously, though-parents today are destroying the psyches (not to mention the health) of their kids with this mentality. If you are so paranoid that you don't trust anybody, what is this doing to your children? Kids are smart-they can pick up on this.

The sad reality is that a few kids will get abducted no matter what is done. If not on their bikes, then maybe at the mall, bus stop, school yard, whatever. Keeping kids needlessly locked up like prisoners is only harming them.

Use some common sense, and check up on them. If they don't experience independance at some point, they will always be dependant.
Child molester.NatC
Nov 21, 2003 4:41 AM
I bet you have a moustache.
Are you willing to expose yourself to legal action.....MR_GRUMPY
Nov 20, 2003 9:14 AM
if one of the kids you "mentored" gets squashed ? Who is the parent going to blame if their child is killed ?
Ah, reality rears it's ugly head.theBreeze
Nov 20, 2003 10:43 AM
You really are a glass half empty person aren't you? Hey, let's all just do nothing for neighbors, communuty, schools and sit in our houses with the blinds shut and be safe from any potential threats, physical or legal. That's how I want to live MY life. :P
re: Kids and biking to school, an idea.lazy8
Nov 20, 2003 10:00 AM
Last year I built up a bike for our daughter to ride to school. Where we live she can take a bus to elementary school but after 5th grade she's on her own.
She was all psyched to ride but could not get any of her friends to go along. None of the other parents felt it was safe and my wife and I won't let her go alone.
I can see the reasons some of the parents are afraid. There is a lot of car traffic (mostly because these kids can't walk or ride).
I like your idea. But how many parents will take the time to get on a bike before going off to work? If I had to do that myself I would have to leave for my ride to work an hour later than usual. I would consider that but not on daily basis.
Check out the League of American Bicyclists, http://www.bikeleague.org/index.cfm they are working on this issue on the National level.