Free-Range Kids Outrage of the Week: No Biking to School

This one comes from blogger Denise Gonzalez-Walker. It’s the rules for getting to school in a district near Seattle. Please note the bolded words:

Bicycles

Students in grades 4,5 and 6 may ride bikes, roller blades, skateboards and non-motor scooters to school.  According to Highline District policy, a protective helmet must be worn when riding a bike, skateboard, scooter or roller blades to school.  District policy also prohibits the riding of bicycles to and from school by children in grades K-3, even when accompanied by an adult (policy #3424).

That’s right. Parents are forbidden to bike with their kids to school in the early grades. Even if the parents believe their kids are ready. Even if the parents want to show them how to ride safely! As Denise points out, “Policies like this discourage teaching opportunities.”

 Meanwhile, what opportunities do they encourage? Driving! More chance for kids to sit passively and be dropped off.

 Where is the sense in that? In my book, I point out that 50% of the children hit by cars near schools are hit by cars driven by parents dropping off THEIR children because they’re afraid of THEM being hit by cars. So if everyone just quit driving their kids to school, we’d already see a 50% drop in injuries!

A no-biking policy like this calls for action on the part of parents – approaching the PTA or school board and saying, “Who is this policy supposed to serve? We want our kids to be active and we want to teach them how to be safe. This policy thwarts both.”

But feel free to use a stronger word than thwarts. – Lenore