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Do you think students in kindergarten through third grade should be able to ride their bikes to school?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on August 18, 2006

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Photo of Kelly McKinney

“If they live close enough and their parents show them how. Maybe not kids in kindergarten, but I don’t think it should be the school’s decision how they get to school.”

Photo of Aaron Wray

“I think they should be able to, but it might depend on how far they live from school. If their parents don’t have a problem with it, the school shouldn’t.”

Photo of Tina Alaniz

“No. It’s actually pretty common for schools and school districts to restrict children in that age group.”

Photo of David Flannery

“It should be up to the parents. It should depend on the child and the distance involved.”

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oldgranny 11 years, 8 months ago

One would hope that parents would have enough sense to decide whether or not there child was old enough to handle riding to school on a bike. But unfortunantly in this day and age you never can tell. A few parents out there could just care less. Never the less through third grade seems a little much. Maybe kindergarten's and first grader's.

Kuku_Kansas 11 years, 8 months ago

Shhhhhhh...the city council may ban away before the day is out!

Nikki May 11 years, 8 months ago

My daughter is in 3rd, and I'd not send her to school on a bike. She just doesn't ride well. She makes the age cut off. We have no busy streets to cross, but I'd still not do it. Now, my son will be another story at that age. It totally depends on the kid.

southerngirl 11 years, 8 months ago

I agree with punkrockmom, it depends on the child and the safety of the commute. Unfortunately, the schools can't go on a case by case basis so NO, I do not think that K-3rd graders should be allowed to ride their bikes to school.

average 11 years, 8 months ago

Of course not. The only safe way to get our precious children to school is borne on a sedan chair of safety orange and reflective tape by four specially trained crossing guards.

Would the tragedy have been less had the child been riding to his friend's house, not school? Well, then, a city ban for under-3rd is in order. Then a third grader gets hit? Move it to 5th grader. Then a 5th grader gets hit walking...

Basically, children shouldn't leave their block unaccompanied till they get their driver's license. Actually, hold that, there may be a predator on the block...

Linda Aikins 11 years, 8 months ago

I still walk with my daughter every day to school - and she's 19!!! hahaha


jonas 11 years, 8 months ago

Many of the rules which are put in place by so many different elements of our society are based on liability issues because when something untoward happens, the first response of so many is to file a lawsuit.

Marion gets the toaster!

sgtwolverine 11 years, 8 months ago

I think they should be tested for performance-enhancing drugs before they can ride a bike.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 8 months ago

Kids riding bikes to school? Why is it even being debated? Wasn't this one of the supposed problems with the 6 year old boy that was hit and killed on his way to school one day? Or was that a scooter? Regardless, all most people here had to say, after the fact, was that the parents had a screw loose and should never have allowed him to do it without supervision, and so they were to blame.

Now all of you are saying that they should be allowed to ride bikes to school, regardless of their age. Make up your minds.

If kids were still being raised the way I was, I wouldn't have a problem with it. My mother taught me that, bike or on foot, when you come to an intersection, even if the light is green for you, STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN first before you cross. When she caught us not being cautious and careful while riding our bikes, we got punished...not allowed to ride at all for a set number of days, and we got the drill all over again about safety. Or, worse yet, horror of horrors, if she thought we were goofing off, or not paying attention while on our way to school, she would make us walk to school and she would go with us every step of the way. Even when we were in junior high. Talk about embarrassed. But the point was made.

But she would never have allowed any of us to ride a bike to school at that age. That's just too young.

After having come into contact with kids now, though, I'd say no. Most of them don't even look first before crossing the street, any street, busy or not. I have seen high school kids who do this. They don't look, just walk right into the street, and even when they hear a car behind them, they won't turn to look. They just keep right on walking, or riding the bike, like they own the road and they're on a magic path or something that will keep them from getting hurt even though they're so arrogant about it.

Kids do this at intersections, they do it in the streets, they do it in parking lots, all the time. They all apparently think they own the world, and nothing will ever harm them.

If they knew the rules of the road and followed them, if they had any kind of respect for the fact that a life can be taken or changed forever in the blink of an eye, it would be a different matter. But far too many kids don't anymore.

craigers 11 years, 8 months ago

Depends on the kids and not_so_fast I couldn't agree more.

number3of5 11 years, 8 months ago

When my youngest daughter was in school, we lived just 5 blocks from the school and 4 of these blocks were in a straight line where I could watch her walk. The school made her walk on a street that I could not monitor because it was a less traveled street. Check out the laws governing school liability. The school may be responsible for your child from the time they leave your door on their way to school until they reach your door upon returning home. Therefore they have the right to decide which route a child should take and if they can or cannot ride bikes, scooters, and skateboards.

reginafliangie 11 years, 8 months ago

I would be more worried about some psyco trying to snatch my kid more than how safe they are riding to school. If I can't know if they made it safely to school walking OR riding a bike, than I can't relax until they are home again. We don't live close enough for them to walk, so it's not an issue to me. But I worry like that. But hey, in this day and age it's not totally weird. Lots of weirdos out there.

beatrice 11 years, 8 months ago

No. They should be made to hitchhike instead.

hottruckinmama 11 years, 8 months ago

yes blue73harley. especially little pale pasty ones that look like lee harvey oswald. CREEPY!

canyon_wren 11 years, 8 months ago

Well, we didn't have that problem when I was growing up. We four kids were sharing ONE bike when I was in 3rd grade--an old hand-me-down formerly boy's bike, cut down to resemble a girls bike, hand-painted an ugly flat green. We were lucky--and thrilled-- to get that in 1946-47. I didn't have my own bike till about the 8th grade (also 2nd hand).

I agree that MOST kids younger than 3rd grade probably don't have the skills to ride safely. Obviously, there are so many more cars on the streets now than when I was growing up; hence the need for the helmets, etc. (the whole safety thing would make me NOT want to ride a bike anyway!).

As far as a school being liable for kids who get hurt riding to school--that doesn't sound real logical to me, but most liability issues AREN'T, these days! Does anyone know for sure if that is the case?

canyon_wren 11 years, 8 months ago

I might add that I generally am opposed to all the various bans that Lawrence City recommends, and personally believe that "government that governs least, governs best," or whatever the saying is.

However, I think this makes sense and believe that the schools have the kids' best interest in mind. I don't think it is just BECAUSE of this one accident, but probably was something they've been considering for a while and that prompted action.

micah6_8 11 years, 8 months ago

I just don't get it. Just because little Johnnie (or Susie) has learned how to ride a bike, so many parents equate that with their wee ones having the mental capability to make sound judgments and take all the necessary precautions that accompany riding the bike across roads and through traffic. Get a clue!!! It just isn't so! Little Johnnie or Susie's mind has not developed to that point yet. And if the parents feel it is a good and right thing for their child to ride out in traffic, then perhaps their own minds stopped developing at the pre-third grade level as well.

And what's with all this "they got a right" stuff? There seems to be this prevailing attitude in society today that anyone should have the right to do whatever he or she pleases - regardless of the consequences. And the rest of society should do whatever it takes to enable them to do so. Bull hockey!!!

At a little over fifty years of age, I have plenty of opportunity each day to drive my nice, heavily reinforced (with airbags) SUV through the same traffic that little Johnnie wants so badly to ride his bike through (with mommie waving her hankie at traffic to tell everyone to make way for Johnnie). Even in a high profile SUV, I am amazed at how inattentively so many folks drive - constantly swerving in and out of traffic lanes, driving stupidly. And mommy and daddy actually think little Susie or Johnnie is mature enough to watch for idiot drivers as well?

Grow up, mommy and daddy, if you want to ensure that your precious little darling has all their natural born rights, start by making wise decisions regarding their safety.

And need I make any implications about parents who send their children out to school for ANY distance unsupervised? Enough to say that is a pedophile's dream...

Just my thoughts.............

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

RI, Baaaahhhhhh! Hey, I wore that lovely orange belt, too. And I worked "the most dangerous intersection." I was a little studette! (I once whacked a motorcyclist with my "STOP flag on a stick" because he was upset he had to stop for the kiddies and he tried to pass the line of cars. thwack Yes, it was a different era. I miss those care-free days.

A parent should be able to decide how their kid gets to school. If it's on a bike...fine. What, next they will ban children walking to school because they might have to cross a street or something? If you feel that way, do like I do and take your child to school yourself. Yeash! You know, I added it up and it's costing me roughly $5 a day to drive my kids to school. I'm seriously considering making them ride their bikes the 7 miles to school. They could use the exercize.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 8 months ago

I can just picture a school employee putting the boot on some second-grader's bike because he rode it to school.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

Canyon, you were a lucky girl to be able to share a bike with the sibs. I had to walk to school...uphill, both ways, in the driving snow, barefoot...(but not pregnant!);)

optimist 11 years, 8 months ago

I for one would not allow my child to ride to school simply because of the high volume of traffic around the schools in the morning. That being said each families situation is different and for some it may be a safe option. I trust parents to determine at what age something is appropriate for their child.

That being said this is just another example of an overreaction to tragedy. This was an unfortunate accident and the boy could have just as easily been running and failed to stop at the intersection. I understand the importance for government officials to react to every emotionally charged situation for fear that not reacting might make them appear disengaged or lacking in compassion. The school district in my view has absolutely no right whatsoever to force this policy on the families attending public schools. At what point does this sort of intrusion stop. I have no doubt their intentions are good but the ends does not justify the means here. Not in America.

Schools should focus on teaching and let parents do the parenting.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

I take that back, I went to KU while pregnant. Oh, the shame! The hubby said his biological clock was ticking...funny, I didn't hear anything.

acg 11 years, 8 months ago

It's a moot point (or as Joey would say, a moo point) with me because I would never let my kids ride a bike or scooter to school that young. I don't, however, agree with banning things. It p*sses me off. Ban banning!!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

RI, If I'm not mistaken, you were recently shorn. If your tired of paying for haircuts, I've a fine pair of animal clippers!

irnmadn88 11 years, 8 months ago

The number of cars on the road has increased exponentially from when I was a kid. Families typically had only one car and that went to work with the bread winner. Teenagers rarely had cars. Streets had less traffic (and less parked cars and minivans for the kids to hide behind.) AND NOBODY HAD CELLPHONES!

It seems most everyone is stuck on the age at which this measure is being applied. I think one should look at the locations of the schools and the streets that surround them. Not all have sidewalks and not every intersection has a crossing guard. And when was the last time you stood at a crosswalk and the first car stopped to let you pass? How about the tenth?

I think this measure is in the best interest of the student body as a whole. As with any blanket policy, there will exception taken.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 8 months ago

Oh, Pywacket!! That was beautiful!! Would you have any Grey Poupon?

I say give the kids Rascals!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

RI, I think I'd laugh so hard you'd come out looking like an ARMY recruit with a drunk barber. And, I'd never even go near you while you sleep. I'd be afraid you sleep with firearms under your pillow or something.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

Pywacket, yes, how old is little Morty and does he stand to inherit your millions? I have a couple of daughters..(Oh, now I just sound like Patsy Ramsey.)

Tychoman 11 years, 8 months ago

What's a KU joco?

Yes it should definitely be up to the parents.

sunflower_sue: too soon? LOL.

trinity 11 years, 8 months ago

lmaoooooo, pywacket-i just loves ya! :)

that post made me laugh.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 8 months ago

Seriously though . . . when Tudedude was in grade school Cordley wouldn't let kids ride to school on their bikes until they were 4th graders. Fifteen years later I'm taking Tudedino to Kindergarten and I'm seeing kids younger than that on bikes and several other Kindergarteners riding scooters. Kindergarteners on scooters rather alarmed me, I told MR. Tude, then one from the pm class got run over . . .

Mama 11 years, 8 months ago

Parents should make the call. Freakin' parents. Not the government/school district. (And parents should make the call whether or not their kids wear helmets on bikes/skateboards, etc.)

If parents aren't smart enough to protect their spawn, then their spawn will probably be too stupid, too, so a little natural selection takes over. Harsh, but true. (And for the record, I don't wear a helmet when on bicycles, scooters or motorcycles and neither do my "grown" children. If that's the way we go out, so be it.)

hip_gma 11 years, 8 months ago

Kindergarten and first grade seems a little young. If they live within a certain distance and the school has the parents written permission on file for 2nd & 3rd graders, than I think they should be able to.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

RI, We had Captain, Lieutenant, and "all the others." I was only lieutenant and therefore, only got the silver badge with the blue in the middle. I bet you were just "Mr. Popularity," weren't you? :oP Mister "Gold Badge!" rant, fume, mutter Look, now I'm turning into OMB! What is becomming of me?

jayhawk16 11 years, 8 months ago

My children go to Deerfield elementary and they have always had this rule in place. I have always rode my bike to school with my children starting at kindergarten. Yesterdays school news letter stated the district rule and went further to state " THERE IS NO EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE, EVEN RIDING WITH A PARENT OR OLDER SIBLING IS PROHIBITED. Now that is just stupid. My children are older now but it is not the schools right to tell me or any parent what our means of transportation can be. I have always been with my children whether we walk or ride bikes. I'm a very protective parent. These rules can go way over board.

acg 11 years, 8 months ago

That's ridiculous to not allow your kids to ride to school if the parent is riding, too. Does this mean the district is now going to ensure that every parent has a working, gassed up automobile that they can safely bring their children to school in?

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 8 months ago

Oh, but no, dear Py, do go on! If denied this immense enjoyment I think I could no longer endure! I feel faint!!

Linda Aikins 11 years, 8 months ago



clayars 11 years, 8 months ago

I'm reading these comments with interest thanks to one of my colleagues who suggested I might want to see this. And he was right! Folks! You are missing the point. We are in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic and you are debating whether schools have the "right" to restrict bicycle riding. The debate should be "what can we do to make sure that safe streets and paths exist so that MORE kids can ride bikes to school (or walk without fear of predators). Our inflated sense of danger lurking around every corner has paralyzed us to the point that we are willing to turn our kids into couch potatoes (or is that Tater Tots?) in the name of "keeping them safe". Keeping them safe for what? Type 2 diabetes?

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

RI, I'll show you mine if you show mw yours! Come to think of it, I may have to find it first...but I know I've still got it!;)

Py, Yes, my daughters are exceptionally skilled at whipping horses into shape. As far as the ball, my eldest just completed her ballroom training and should love to have a jaunty fox-trot with dear Morty.

Clayers, we're missing the point? Us? Really? Impossible! Oh, and welcome. :o) BTW, I absolutely agree with you that Lawrence needs to have lots of biketrails! Let's take the money going into roundabouts and pave us some roads!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

that should read "show ME yours." So sorry to not edit myself first.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 8 months ago

BRAVO, Clayars! There are 4 registered sex offenders and folks rippin' it down 27th Street on Tudedino's way to school. It is not safe so I take him myself. The powers that be don't seem interested in locking up the offenders despite the fact that they are nearly imposssible to rehabilitate. We need cops to troll there more.

beatrice 11 years, 8 months ago

Can they ride a Segway? I hear they are new and improved.

jayhawks71 11 years, 8 months ago

MORION - which one will get you first, the Alzheimer's or the schizophrenia?

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