Robert Ping, the State Network Coordinator for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership shared a startling bit of information during his presentation at the Safe Routes to School Conference today.
In communities throughout America, students are being told they are not allowed to bike to school.
“It’s pervasive throughout the country and we’re hearing about it more and more,” he said. The problem, according to Ping, is that many school principals and administrators feel that biking and walking to school is simply unsafe. They are concerned about being held liable for anything that happens during the trip to and/or from school.
Used to be I could sit in my paretn’s living room and watch a steady stream of kids walking to the school at the end of the block. Not any more. Instead it is a steady stream of cars lining up to drop children off at the school. I go past a small private school on my way home from work in the morning and during the school year I play a frequent game of “dodge the soccer-mom minivans” as I run the gauntlet past the school. And walking is unsafe?
An interesting side note is that while the schools are worried about walking and biking to school and the liability it “entails”, it says nothing about the over-active hormone machines known as high school students behind the wheel.
Me, I plan on living near the school where my kids will go so that they can walk or ride their bike to school. It just makes sense, unless some dipshit decides there is “too much liability.”