Archive for Friday, August 18, 2006

Bicycle ban doesn’t sit well with all

Children must be in third grade or higher to ride bikes to school

August 18, 2006


Some parents say the Lawrence school district overreacted to a tragedy.

After a kindergartner was killed in January riding his scooter from home to class, school officials came up with a new rule: Students younger than third grade cannot ride bikes or scooters to school, no matter how short the distance from home and no matter which school they attend.

"We live right down the street. He can't ride his bike down the trail if he wants to," Dave Stevens said of his stepson who is in first grade at Prairie Park School.

Stevens said the new rule is an inconvenience for the boy and the family.

But other parents and school and safety officials said the new rules only make sense.

Debra Bost, who waited outside Prairie Park School for her granddaughter on Thursday, said district principals hit the right age at third grade.

The family had debated whether her granddaughter, a second-grader, was ready to ride to school.

"I'm really glad it came upon the system. I didn't have to worry about it," she said.

Elementary school principals agreed last spring to adopt a uniform policy on bicycle safety and other wheeled conveyances, said district spokeswoman Julie Boyle. Some schools, such as Schwegler, already had the rule in place, so the new uniform policy changed nothing there.

Jakob Farrar, a fourth-grader at Deerfield School, makes his way with his bicycle through a crowd of students after school. The Lawrence district has a new policy that prohibits students under third grade to ride their bicycles to school. The policy was adopted after a child on a scooter was killed last winter. The ban includes bicycles, scooters, skateboards and other wheeled conveyances.

Jakob Farrar, a fourth-grader at Deerfield School, makes his way with his bicycle through a crowd of students after school. The Lawrence district has a new policy that prohibits students under third grade to ride their bicycles to school. The policy was adopted after a child on a scooter was killed last winter. The ban includes bicycles, scooters, skateboards and other wheeled conveyances.

The standardization resulted from the Jan. 31 death of 6-year-old Bryce Olsen, who was struck by a minivan while riding his scooter to school. The motorist's vision was obscured by a shrub at the intersection, and police concluded he was not at fault in the accident.

Olsen's father, Bret, learned of the standardized policy Thursday and said his only comment was that he was glad someone was doing something about traffic safety.

The policy allows children past second grade to bicycle to class because, "by the third grade, most children have skills that are necessary to navigate traffic safely on a bicycle," said Julie Boyle, a district spokeswoman.

The new policy also prohibits students from riding scooters, in-line skates or skateboards to school. Each elementary school noted the changes in their school handbooks delivered to parents during the summer, Boyle said.

But some only noticed the new rules once school began this week.

School principals also included in the handbook the city ordinance that requires anyone 15 or younger to wear a helmet while biking or skating.

Instead of a fine or arrest for violators, police officers give away vouchers that allow children and teenagers to pick up a free helmet at any Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical station.

Fire and Medical Division Chief Rob Kort leads the helmet operation and said the new district policy and handbook promote safety.

"I think it's a great step. My philosophy and opinion has always been that in order for kids to wear helmets, it has to be cool to do it," he said.

Boyle said she was aware of one parent who had called the district to complain about the new regulations.

Stevens said his stepson had been in Bryce Olsen's class last year and that he would have liked to see more crossing guards as a remedy to the safety concerns.

He said he also would like to see an exception to the regulations if students live near school and don't travel busy streets or intersections.


Nikki May 11 years, 10 months ago

I really don't think that Bryce's accident was because he was a kindergartener or that it was because he rode a scooter. It was a driver couldn't see or didn't see. That could have happened to a 3rd grader. I do know that most of the schools had this rule anyway.

I agree with the person in the article that said there should have been more crossing guards instead of rules like this.

average 11 years, 10 months ago

What next, walking?

Actually, you won't wait long. There are districts that have declared some roads unsafe to cross for their students and accused parents of endangerment for walking with their kids across those roads.

Maybe it's not the kids who are the problem here.

MWIV 11 years, 10 months ago

The answser is simple on some of these crazy rules that the district imposes. If the parents want to do things "their way", have them sign a liability release form whereby the school district is not responsible for some of the crazy decisions of the partents.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 10 months ago

torn on this one yeah maybe the younger kids should not ride their bikes to school but I know adults that should not ride bikes either. This is a hard one the district should have put out a recomendation instead or maybe had bike saftey classes in each school.

irishblues 11 years, 10 months ago

They took away the bike racks in KCK when my kids were young. We lived close enough to ride, and without crossing any major thoroughfares. Their reasoning? Too many bikes got stolen, even if they were locked up.

The 3rd grade rule, still seems young to me. Especially with all the traffic. Does anyone still teach bicycle safety anymore? You know, get off your bike and walk it across the street, etc.? Do parents even KNOW bicycle safety or do they just take off the training wheels and push them down the sidewalk?

eax 11 years, 10 months ago

All I can say is that 40 years ago when the world was a little more sane, our elementary schools required you to be in the FIFTH grade before allowing you to ride your bike to school. I personally feel the THIRD grade is much to young to ride the bike to school. The traffic out there is HORRID.

Rick Aldrich 11 years, 10 months ago

sorry but 6 years old is to young to be going anywhere alone. lazy none caring parents don't care. i've raised 3 fantastic daughters and they were never allowed to be alone till junior high age to walk anywhere. so it's more convenient for the parent. question is how much do they value their childs safety or life. i agree with the school.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 10 months ago

well this never really impacted my kids they could not ride their bikes until fourth grade then when they hit JR. it was uncool to ride their bikes to school kinda funny how that works. I do agree that it seems an overstepping of bounds but I also see how they want to make sure they, the board, seem to be doing everything they can to protect kids. But if that was the case they should watch how the older kids ride their bikes, the older ones scare me more than the little ones.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 10 months ago

I was always told that, since it is required by law for kids to go to school in the first place, that the district is held responsible for their safety not only on school grounds, but on the trips to and from school as well.

Anyone know if this is true? Is it KS law?

mom_of_three 11 years, 10 months ago

When my kids went to Prairie Park, I thought the age WAS 3rd grade for bicycles, but maybe there was nothing in place for scooters.
I had several kids in Prairie Park at the same time, and the older ones couldn't ride bikes if the youngest one couldn't. Didn't happen very often, luckily.

kolisach 11 years, 10 months ago

If the school district is so concerned about traffic safety, wouldn't the first step be to teach children about it in school? Maybe have a unit on walking and biking safely as part of a physical education class?

We wonder why kids don't know how to cross the street.


mssking1 11 years, 10 months ago

Parents who think this rule is a good one just didn't want to be the "bad guy" by telling their child they couldn't ride their bike to school because they are cautious enough or don't know the rules or are too distracted by friends, etc. Folks, we need to quit letting other people, i.e. schools, city government make decisions for our lives and the lives of our families. If our children get hurt because they don't pay attention or are not trained to ride bikes safely it is not the fault of anyone but the parents and the kids themselves....stop letting outsiders tell us how to live our lives and take responsibility for them ourselves.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 10 months ago

well enforcer my older kids, boys, of course would not have been able to ride to school except for the fact I could see them the whole time, yeah a waste of bike power that close but hey boys..... My girls never got to ride theirs of course they never wanted to. To me the biggest problem was the worry of abduction not getting hit by a car.

belle 11 years, 10 months ago

It's a shame that no one can just accept accidents. Our society feels the constant need to find blame and point fingers. And I'm sure the school district is enforcing this because of possible legal implications. The parents might be blamed, but perhaps they'll point the finger at the school, so the school will enforce a new ban to save their butts. The word is ACCIDENT for a reason!

The school district needs to stop parenting. Parents need to be able to make parenting decisions for THEIR children. Being grateful that the school made a rule so that you don't have to tell your child "no" is a shame. We can't keep expecting our teachers to parent. We also can't keep letting the school district make parenting decisions. There is a school district in western Kansas that has banned the girls from wearing any pants or shorts with elastic waists because the boys kept pulling them down. How about having the parents address this with their boys?? It's not fair for the girls to not be comfortable because of the boys' actions. My point being, don't give all the control to the school district when they are dealing with YOUR children.

Anyways, to sum up, no parent is perfect, no child is perfect, no system is perfect, so can we just let an accident be an accident? Let's stop making rules for every new incident.

Jennifer Phythyon 11 years, 10 months ago

So much for parents reading the school handbook. When my daughter started at Prairie Park 2 years ago the 3rd grade rule for bikes was in place. Obviously, parents were not paying attention.

My daughter rides to school now but only with a parent going along.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 10 months ago

I think the fire dept. still has classes a couple times a year. Now in defence of some parents my boys and girls where taught bike safety but it seemed like the older they got the less they payed attention to all they had been taught then could never understand why I would come out and tell them to put the bikes up till they could learn how to ride them right, once again boys...

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 10 months ago

most schools have the third grade rule but younger sibs can ride their bikes or scooters to school if an older sib. or parent is with them.

linus 11 years, 10 months ago

cracyks: I don't know if it is law...but I think you hit the nail on the head!

Our children are REQUIRED to go to they get there is up to us. Some people WORK...and cannot take our children...and don't have "grandma" to take them and pick them up! I truly believe if the school districts and City Council's of the world REALLY CARE about the children they would budget in bussing for ALL children for FREE!

This way we wouldn't have little ones (or big ones) riding bikes, walking, being abducted...etc.

I am so sick of hearing everyone SAY they care about the kids, but instead of DOING something, they make new rules & laws that (for some) make it IMPOSSIBLE for the parents THAT CARE VERY MUCH but can't miss work or be late to personnally deliver their children to the front steps of the school! And PLEASE don't throw "Car Pooling" at some situations this others it just doesn't and everyone knows it!!! Sad but true...there are just "some kids" that you don't want to deal with, transport in your car, don't want your kids to associate with, etc. News Flash folks...those are the kids that NEED your kindness, attention, assistance, etc.

sunnysideup 11 years, 10 months ago

FYI FYI FYI FYI FYI FYI We've lived in the P.Park area for 3 years, this has ALWAYS been the rule! Whether it has been enforced, make up your own mind...Does it look like it was enforced? Does the traffic light by the school work everyday? No, not everyday, but enough for them to say it works. This rule has never been enforced, nor do I think it will ever be a REAL RULE! If a student rides his bike to school without a helmet, they should not be allowed to ride the bike home w/out a helmet.

grimpeur 11 years, 10 months ago

Once again, we look everywhere except at the real problem: the absolute dependence on automobiles, and the fact that as a society, we fail to provide safe car-free routes that would allow kids (and their parents) the ability to break free from that dependence. Then every time someone proposes a trail, path, bus, or other alternative transportation mode, the car junkies come out to tell us what a waste of money it is.

While it's important to be able to accept that accidents happen, most of the danger from cars and motorists is not accidental. Rather, it is the result of people's deliberate choice to talk on the phone, read, speed, tailgate, run stop signs, bull through crosswalks, and other intentional acts. When a motorist says, "I didn't see them," the next question should always be, "Why not?"

I've heard many people mistakenly claim that, "it's dangerous to ride your bike." Wrong. The danger on our streets is from cars and from impatient, inattentive, aggressive and just plain stupid motorists. Perhaps some changes in car use and motorist behavior are in order.

lori 11 years, 10 months ago

I don't see anything about it in our enrollment handbook.

lori 11 years, 10 months ago

I can't find much information about this on the usd497 website; when I search the website I get directed to some of the schools' handbooks (not ours, though). It states that 3rd-6th may ride their bikes.

So, even if a child is accompanied by an adult, they aren't allowed to ride their bike if they are under 3rd grade?

AlexFenton 11 years, 10 months ago

I don't think bicycle riding by children should be encouraged.

It's just going to lead to more athletic, spandex-clad bicyclists who slow me down while I'm trying to drive to the doughnut shop.

Greg Yother 11 years, 10 months ago

Good point about liability Marion. Though I will add, just because the schools may be a victim of a jacked up legal system doesn't mean I will play ball. I guess they gotta do what they gotta do:but so do I. Policy looks well intentioned, but the schools will NOT dictate my child's behavior the second they step out my door (and perhaps that is not even their intention; see below). If the route is deemed safe BY ME, and my child happens to be intelligent and agile and is overall a fine bike rider with respect to motor skills, control of the bike and following safety rules and decision making skills (according to MY standards), my child WILL be able to earn the right to ride her bike on public streets, regardless of the school's (or any one else's) claim that they can control my child's behavior from ten blocks away. If the school district will not allow her bike on school property, my child may earn the privilege to decide for herself if she wants to lock it up at the nearest public rack and walk the rest of the way.

In other words, if the parents put a little thought into it, ultimately no one but the parents will be able to really control how the kids get to school. They can however merely discourage bikes with this rule (parents like the one in the article may welcome not having to make the decision; err on the side of caution, good for them) and perhaps this is the district's real intention; if that's what they have to do to avoid liability, so be it. My point is no one but me will ever truly control my child's means of getting to school. But let me shout this one out to you; if you choose to take this admittedly stubborn attitude, you had better be sure you're up to the task of deciding what's safe for your child; their life depends on it. Otherwise, as the parent you of course have the right to choose to let the school make the decision for you.

rayikeo 11 years, 10 months ago

One important thing everyone is missing on this discussion is the vulernability of kids this age riding thier bikes alone to abduction by "PEDOPHILES". If you want to increse the chances of Amber Alerts then send your child to school alone on thier bike. Remember the wourld is becomming less safe and sex offenders are out there looking for easy targets.

Tychoman 11 years, 10 months ago

Rayikeo that is the biggest piece of fearmongering I've seen on these boards. Children have been riding bikes to school for decades. What a waste your post was.

Greg Yother 11 years, 10 months ago

Rayikeo, I appreciate the heads up; I will give heavy consideration to that in my (not the school's) decision making process; I hope others do the same.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

and please take this in the spirit that it was meant....Mainly that I hate children and they should be shackled and home schooled with methods akin to clockwork orange.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

In fact, I demand the right to yell at peoples kids when they act out in public places.....If you cannot stuff enough ritalin down your bastards pie hole to keep them behaved during a meal in a restaurant or during a movie(usually a movie they should not be at in the first place) please have the damm decency to allow others to straighten up Jr.....After all, it takes a village to raise a child.....latchkey children were the best thing to come out of the 80's

Julie Jacob 11 years, 10 months ago

rednekbudda your comments are simply out of line.

What about children that are socially and emotionally older than 3rd grade? Should they have to be "dumbed down" just to accomodate others? No, I have a problem with that.

Tychoman 11 years, 10 months ago

"Those of us that have decided to not help over populate the planet should not be responsible for your little accidents."

Haha buddha that made me smile lol.

bd 11 years, 10 months ago





Dale Stringer 11 years, 10 months ago

Come on guys this is Lawrence, KS. Where are all of you that would normally be blaming the accident on the bush for blocking the view of the driver? Or on the bush for not stopping the child from running into the street in front of a vehicle.

The city should start cutting/tearing down of some of the things that block the line of site of up to 30ft on sidewalks and at 50ft for every 10mph of the speed limit for the streets.

acg 11 years, 10 months ago

rednekbuddha, that was awesome. You freakin' crack me up.

trinity 11 years, 10 months ago

dannnnng, buddha, calm down before you have a thrombo!

in weeding through your post(s) i did find a grain or two of what i perceive as reality; maybe not on quite as harsh a scale as you, though. for instance-correcting or intervening with somebody else's kids in public; while i wouldn't "yell" at 'em, i do not believe it's out of line to say a word or two to a young'un who is out of control&ready to knock a waitress over, trip somebody etc; but you do that, and the parents generally get all huffy at you. on the other hand, there's some real parents who are grateful, and express that.

the world's an awful messy place sometimes, eh?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago

"Where are all of you that would normally be blaming the accident on the bush for blocking the view of the driver?"

Yes, where are all of the bush-haters?

jafs 11 years, 10 months ago

Since the police determined that this wasn't the motorist's fault (I'm not sure I agree), then wouldn't it be the fault of whoever was responsible for maintaining the shrubbery that got in their way? I agree we have an overly litigious society, but that shouldn't excuse negligence on anyone's part, and shrubbery that was clearly blocking drivers' views of a crosswalk sounds like an obviously dangerous situation to me. And, in addition, parents should be sure to teach their children to be careful and alert. To those who don't want others to dictate how their children get to and from school, I would suggest that anything which helps children be safer is probably a good idea.

Tychoman 11 years, 10 months ago

Right here, bozo. These bushes stole their curbspots from more liberal-minded prairie grasses that block less traffic.

Oh no jafs you mentioned shrubberies...let the Pythoning begin!

clutterbug 11 years, 10 months ago

"In fact, I demand the right to yell at peoples kids when they act out in public places.....If you cannot stuff enough ritalin down your bastards pie hole to keep them behaved during a meal in a restaurant or during a movie(usually a movie they should not be at in the first place) please have the damm decency to allow others to straighten up Jr."

GOOD IDEA!!! lol

Kelly Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

Read the article...It is third grade and below, or are you saying that there should be exemptions due to your belief that YOUR child is differant or somehow more special than others?.....And out of line? get my comments removed if they offend you so much....but remember that we people who did not breed are inconvenienced on a daily basis by sloppy or just plain bad parents and their spoiled rotten little brats way more than the reverse......If I can drive to work knowing I do not have to worry about some little mouth breather blundering their way into traffic like a minature Simon on a bike, then good for me......If the city and schools do what they have to do to keep your kids safe and themselves lawsuit free then good for them.....I'm not the one who started treating children like they are made of glass....but by god I will comment on it.

Dale Stringer 11 years, 10 months ago

This same type of accident happened to my #1 little brother when he was in 3rd Grade and living in Wellington. Long before the days of bike helmets. He was riding his bike across the street from behind a row of trees and gets hit by a truck. Forturnately for him the hospital was on the same block. Who did we blame, not the driver, not the trees, not the friends he was going to go see (as in this case - the school). We blamed him. Our dad made sure we knew the rules of the road when he taught us to ride. My #2 little brother was riding too. He stopped like he was taught.

Morale 1: You can't always be there to protect your kids (brother #1), but you can make sure they know the rules (#2).

Morale 2: You can't make laws that keep everyone safe 100% of the time.

Morale 3: Making sure that a kids remembers the rules all the time is as hard as getting a Democrat to say what he is for instead of what he has against what Republican is for.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 10 months ago

buddah, buddah, buddah. what sall we do with you:) You know it is still way to early and still not enough coffee to respond so have fun.

Tychoman 11 years, 10 months ago

If we really want to protect people we should ban the wheel because once it starts rolling, there's no stopping, except for proper brake pads or a blunt tree-shaped object.

Julie Jacob 11 years, 10 months ago

I'm glad for you that this is just one big joke. Have fun with it. But remember intelligent, confident, capable child is the one who MIGHT be caring for you when you are drooling and back in diapers.

And just a note, ritalin and other meds are far overused in this society where teachers are underpaid and overworked. You did go to school yourself, didn't you rednekbudda? How would you feel as a child hearing an adult whom you are supposed to respect just becuase they are your "elder" speak about you like you are worthless? Not all children are demons and I take offense to the fact that you categorize them all in one lump!

Kelly Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

Lady, i didn't ask to be born, and believe me I'll gargle buckshot before I allow myself to get in that position...and obviously you are a very uptight individual who cannot understand humor...Yes i am reveling in my more curmudgeonly aspect of my i believe all children are "demons" I seen enough brats acting out and enough parents who are under the delusion that their child is somehow better then others(I am looking at you miss) and deserves "special" treatment? Yes... I truly believe my generation will go down in the history books as the generation that failed their kids....and a large part of that failure is the misconception that their children are entitled to the courtesy and respect that adults have to EARN.......children are like dogs....they need disciplinee, purpose and should allways know what their standing is in the pack.....Then they can be nurtured and loved by EVERYBODY....You want me to treat your kid like he or she is a little adult? Lady until your kid proves to me they are a human being and not just a wad of needs and appetites, I will treat them for what they are....humans in training.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

and if i did have a kid they would probably beat the snot out of your kids and take their lunch money...NYHAAAH!!!

mom_of_three 11 years, 10 months ago

Damn, budha, it must have been hard to be a perfect child, and even worse, a perfect adult!!

Julie Jacob 11 years, 10 months ago

Ok. Fine. I don't read the comments much, but this article ticked me off. Saying that, I didn't recognize your brand of humor. I learn to take your comments with salt!

they need disciplinee, purpose and should allways know what their standing is in the pack.....Then they can be nurtured and loved by EVERYBODY

I'm fully with you here, and yes I truly believe that children should earn respect.

And your kid wouldn't get far with my kid's lunch money, she'd dust herself off and lauch a counter attack! hee hee

Kelly Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

Whoa mom of three! i am the first to admit what a spectacular f*ck up I made of myself and my life....One of the reasons I decided not to have kids.....i truly believe that it is a mistake to raise kids with the delusion that they are "special"....That is a hard monkey to get off your back, thinking you somehow are more entitled or more unique than your fellow apes.....If i sound overly harsh it is because I am quite frankly tired of having to walk on eggshells around parents and their kids....childless people have to help foot the bills for others....We have to watch bad parents use their kids as a convienant exscuse to shirk work and to bemoan how tough it is being a parent....birth control is up to 98% effective and their are many people who want to adopt.....If you are not ready to play the game don't have the kids or give them to somebody who is.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

And look at the time! thanks for putting up with the rants people....i got chores to do....hug your kids for me and have a great day....

mom_of_three 11 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, we could tell you were tired of parents and their kids and all the kid-related problems and complaints.

This was an article about kids riding bikes to school, and parents' concerns. SO of course, parents are going to complain about their problems with the new (not in all situations, though) rule.

Since bicycles and schools is in the title, and kids ride bicycles and go to school, then maybe you shouldn't read it (save yourself the aggravation) if you think parents are going to make complaining comments (and they are).

I commend you on your own personal revelation to be kid-free, but don't put all parents in the same basket, because parents are not all alike.

mom_of_three 11 years, 10 months ago

Yes, the 3rd grade bicycle rule was in place at Prairie Park many years ago. I don't know if scooters were included then. At one time, I had 3 kids in the school, with one not being old enough to ride a bike. (per the rule). It didn't matter too much to the older ones or the younger one, as they would have to ride UPHILL to school, and some mornings, it just wasn't worth it.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Dale Stringer 11 years, 10 months ago

I really don't have a problem with the 3rd Grade limit. I just don't like what it is base on. My kids went to an elementary school in Minot, ND that set the limit at 4th grade. They did it not because the parents there can't teach the road rules or because drivers don't pay enough attention or because they can't remove a line-of-sight obstruction. The did it be there was too many bicycles coming to school and not enough room to park them.

It is good to make it district wide policy. It is a good first step to add some standards throughout to this system in Lawrence

Richard Heckler 11 years, 10 months ago

If a parents wants to send a child to school on foot or biking that should be their choice. However parents should also spend A LOT of time riding around town with their children before doing so. I think it's a stretch holding public schools liable. Build pedestrian tunnels such as those in front of Pinckney?

I would also suggest that the LPD spend more time busting speeders in the immediate areas of elementary schools instead of around the 2100 of Mass. When we were in second grade walking and biking was quite common in our east northeast Wichita neighborhood. Biking and walking was far more preferable than a parent was more fun.

Most schools sit on large tracts of land surely bike parking space will never be a problem. Park bikes in the most obvious point in the parking lots and create new spaces for cars.

prioress 11 years, 10 months ago

The third grade and above rule is not uncommon in other districts. I'd be shocked at any parent who would let a kid ride anything with wheels on a public street without close supervision if the child was under 10 years old.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 10 months ago

In the meantime if anyone notices landscaping blocking views at intersections contact neighborhood resources.

Notice parked vehicles interfering with views contact the Traffic Safety Engineer David Woosley. Perhaps no parking zones could be created or set back further. The Trafffic Safety Commission can also deal with shrubs and trees etc blocking vision however Neighborhood Resources might be the quicker avenue.

Bone777 11 years, 10 months ago

As long as the idiots of the world keep out-breeding the sensible folks, society will be counted on to help raise the idiot's children.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 10 months ago

And if the parents can't even read, understand, and follow rules, then what chance is there that their children will?

RAPettifog 11 years, 10 months ago

"The motorist's vision was obscured by a shrub at the intersection, and police concluded he was not at fault in the accident."

Can I assume that at the least the shrub was removed?

gphawk89 11 years, 10 months ago

"The District isn't liabel anyway unless it is directly at the school crossing and the crossing is not manned."

I've got to disagree. If a kid got killed in any crosswalk walking to school in today's society, liable parties would include: the driver (for hitting the kid), the school (for not providing adequate protection for the kid - whether or not the crosswalk was anywhere near the school), the city (for not making the crosswalk adequately visible), the kid's optometrist/audiologist (the kid obviously couldn't adequately see or hear the car coming), the manufacturer of the clothes the kid was wearing (fabrics not bright enough to attract the attention of the driver), the manufacturer of the car that hit the kid (the car was obviously defective and thus not able to stop in time), etc., etc. Determination of liability and the "selection" of defendants in a wrongful death suit has little to do with common sense anymore, and everything to do with who has the deep pockets.

grimpeur 11 years, 10 months ago

"too many bicycles coming to school and not enough room to park them."

O what a wonderful problem to have. If we build safe routes for walking and for biking, we too could face the same "problem" as Minot. Unfortunately, we're teaching our kids that they're nothing without cars, and so every 16-y.o. lives in anticipation of the day they can be burdened with the most expensive toy they'll ever have. Not to mention burdening the rest of us with it by driving 0.5 miles to school, parking across driveways in surrounding neighborhoods, text-messaging while behind the wheel (learned from mom and dad), etc.

Failing to consider any other mode of transportation in and between our neighborhoods, schools and workplaces only exacerbates both the reality and the misconception that you can't live without the car.

jayhawkrider 11 years, 10 months ago

How about making it safe for anyone to walk or bike to school and fight diabetes to boot!!!! See below....

Safe Routes to Schools

Safe Routes to School is a national and international movement to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to school.

Safe Routes to School provides a variety of important benefits to kids and their communities, including improved health, reduced traffic congestion, better air quality, and enhanced neighborhood safety. Safe Routes to School is a solution for the alarming nationwide trend toward child obesity and inactivity.

Video: Safe Routes to School This streaming video gives an introduction to the Safe Routes to School program. Year: 2006 Total running time: 4 minutes Audience: Parents, educators, school administrators, school boards, city councilors, and public safety officers. The piece was developed by the League with the help of a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Federal Program on Safe Routes to School This new program will assist local communities in making bicycling and walking to school a safe choice. The program provides funding for infrastructure and education, while providing guidance and technical assistance through a national clearinghouse (

National Center for Safe Routes to School Find information on how to start and sustain a Safe Routes program. You'll also find resources for training and technical assistance.

Safe Routes to School National Partnership The partnership is a collaboration of bicycling and walking groups, as well as health advocates, schools, government agencies, and businesses. The partnership's goal is to advance the Safe Routes to School national movement. Join the partnership today.

National Safe Routes to School Curriculum The League of American Bicyclists Safe Routes program focuses on bringing training to middle school students inside and outside the classroom. For more information on the League's teacher training and student materials, contact Bill Nesper.

jogger 11 years, 10 months ago

I have to say, I remember the bush, the grade of the intersection is still such that one must pause to watch and the stop sign is a neccesity. Its a prime spot for a crossing gaurd, the perils possible on the way to school go way beyond traffic, and even short adults can be hard to see when they wiz through an intersection on the sidewalk. I don't think this is a blameless situation, but that there is definately room for sharing the guilt here. It doesn't matter how old you are, you need to be SEEN on wheels, careful at intersections, and too often, in Lawrence, this is a life or death showdown. I am sad for these parents, and I think there is more room for prevention besides a ban on bikes.

GardenMomma 11 years, 10 months ago

Okay, banning wheeled self-transportation for children under third grade because a child was tragically killed while riding a scooter to school??? Suppose the child had been walking and been accidentally hit and killed? Would the School District have then banned all children from walking to school until they were in the third grade???

And this statement: "The family had debated whether her granddaughter, a second-grader, was ready to ride to school. "I'm really glad it came upon the system. I didn't have to worry about it," she said."

How dumb is that? You don't have to worry about making a decision that affects your child because now the School District has made it for you? Do you worry about what your child is learning in school or do you not bother becuase it "came upon the system"?

C'mon people! This was a horrible tragedy and it's awful that a little boy lost his life, but I do believe it was an accident. It wasn't because the 6-year old didn't know or have the "skills necessary to navigate" a scooter.

The suggestion of more crossing guards seems a good one. The teaching of bicycle saftey in Kindergarten is a good idea. The use of common sense and less knee jerk reactions are better ideas.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

Yes, cause six year olds are known for their coordination and quick decision making skills...

GardenMomma 11 years, 10 months ago

"The motorist's vision was obscured by a shrub at the intersection, and police concluded he was not at fault in the accident."

It was an accident. The motorist could not see. And, I would assume, the child could not see either.

Common sense and good parental decision making are what's needed. Education is key here.

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