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Old 07-03-02, 04:08 PM   #1
cycletourist
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Children don't ride bicycles :-(

I saw on the news today that the Springfield Missouri school district will no longer provide bus service for students that live within 1.5 miles of school (changed from 1 mile). This will save the school district $700,000 a year.

Parents are throwing a fit because their children "have no way to get to school now". One parent that was being interviewed (while her obese children sat on the floor playing video games) whined and complained about how UNFAIR it is that her kids will no longer be bussed to school, about how she will have to rearrange her life and jeapordize her job so that she can DRIVE her kids to school everyday!

What!!?? Why can't her kids walk or ride bicycles to school? It's only a mile and a half... even for a fat kid that's only a 30 minute walk or a 10 minute bike ride.

The local news media is making a really big deal out of this and NOT ONCE have they suggested that kids walk or ride bikes to school.
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Old 07-03-02, 04:36 PM   #2
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When I was in elementary school I had to ride my bike every day, rain or shine. (Snow or shine, I mean). I rode the bus in Jr. High when the school was too far away to ride, but that's it. After that I walked. I'm only 21 now. This 1.5 mile bus thing must be relatively new or else non-existent where I'm from.
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Old 07-03-02, 04:54 PM   #3
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I have to agree, "mom" should be upset, but think she is upset for the wrong reason. There is no way I would let either of my kids ride their bike or walk 1 1/2 miles to school unescorted. To many nut cases loose on the streets today.

However since I bicycle commute to work, I would ride with my kids, not chauffeur them in a car, and it wouldn't hurt any of us one bit.

Riding or walking with their children probably won't make the list of options for many in Branson or other "times a wastin" communities facing such cutbacks.
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Old 07-03-02, 05:06 PM   #4
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You bring up a good point however remembering back when we were kids might not be the same. I rode my bike a mile to school. I rode with a group of kids that also rode in a residential neighborhood that was safe from nuts and heavy traffic. Mostly we rode on nice clean sidewalks and I didn't ride my bike to school till I was a third grader.

When My kids were 6 and 7 years old and their bus service was in jeapordy, I freaked as well. There's no way I wanted them riding their bikes sharing the road with 45mph rush hour traffic, no sidewalks and no bike lane. You see, unfortunately there is no distinguishing between a pre-k student or a 5th grader in these matters but of course there's a huge difference in practicality.
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Old 07-03-02, 05:06 PM   #5
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Way back when I was a youngster, neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor hail would keep us from our appointed journeys to school aboard the most reliable transportation known to civilization: Shanks Mare!
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Old 07-03-02, 06:34 PM   #6
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whats with kids today?
when I was a kid we walked 20 miles to school in a
blizzard, uphill both ways.
Isn't that how it goes?
Seriously, for kids 4th grade or above, I'd
say its an option to ride/walk. To deal with
perverts etc. set up group commutes.
For younger kids, ride sharing between the
parents.
for all of em Phys Ed classes.

Marty
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Old 07-03-02, 06:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by cycletourist
The local news media is making a really big deal out of this and NOT ONCE have they suggested that kids walk or ride bikes to school.
Locally, an elementary school student died a couple years ago. She died of heart failure due to extreme obesity. Parents must become responsible for their children's health.

As for unescorted children, that's a great point. For example, when I was a kid, my parents refused to drive me anywhere, including school. The walk to school was safe, mostly because I was not alone, surrounded by dozens of other kids and a few school patrols. Today, a kid walking to school might find himself (or herself) almost completely alone. Sad.
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Old 07-03-02, 06:47 PM   #8
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I wonder, would it be more accurate to describe this effect as a viscious circle or a downward spiral?

This reminds me of the 'smog alerts' I sometimes hear about, where citizens are advised to preferably stay indoors and to certainly not go out and excercise. The funny thing is, they are serious!

Oh, I weep for the future of humanity.
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Old 07-03-02, 09:13 PM   #9
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Don't necessarily blame the kids for this one. There seems to be a big fear about cycling generally and how 'dangerous' it is (again I come back to my "Werris Creek" thread). Most people seem to assume that if you ride on the road cars will run you over. With a bit of commonsense used, it aint necessarily so.
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Old 07-04-02, 12:39 AM   #10
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Where I went to school, the person who orginized the crossing-guards also stood about half way between the crossing guards (which lead to the neighborhoods where most the kids lived) and the school. There was a large set of woods along the walk where they had problems with runner/hikers getting attacked though. But not once did I ever here of a kid having problems. As long as the walk is supervised by an adult, and the kids are told how to deal with a situation of getting attack/abducted, I'm all for making them walk to school. Most schools need every penny the can scrape up, and a little exersise won't hurt the kids.
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Old 07-04-02, 01:04 AM   #11
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I've heard of walking buses for school kids. I beleive the idea is that one or two parents are on duty each day and they follow a set route with kids joining them all along the way to walk to school.

I know this sort of thing would take a bit of organisation but if that's too much for the parents they shouldn't have 'bothered' having kids in the first place.
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Old 07-04-02, 01:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by lotek
Seriously, for kids 4th grade or above, I'd
say its an option to ride/walk. To deal with
perverts etc. set up group commutes.

Marty
Interesting point. In Uk much has been made of the fact that parents state that the reason they prefer kids to be driven to school is because of the danger from paedophiles.

However, studies have shown that there was more danger in that regard in Victorian times than there is now.

Also, some psychologists are concerned that by sheltering children, we are raising a nation of "victims" who have no judgement of dangerous or unusual situations. A child who is correctly taught can be safe but know when the situation is not.

It's very rare for children to be on their own when going to school, (they normally travel in packs) and if parents want to accompany them, riding to school together and back is a good way to spend some quality time.

I should note, however, i write this as someone who doesn't have kids.

If I did have, for example, a daughter, she'd be the best looking nun in the convent.
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Old 07-04-02, 01:33 AM   #13
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'Walking buses' are starting to take off round here for primary school kids (under 11's), one school has started a cycling version which has about 50% take up! - More, more, more
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Old 07-04-02, 04:17 AM   #14
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I've heard of walking buses for school kids. I beleive the idea is that one or two parents are on duty each day and they follow a set route with kids joining them all along the way to walk to school.
yes, just as i was leaving Portland the BTA was working on a combined program to provide 1) bicycle training for kids and 2) "cycling busses" so kids ride in a group and are supervised and safe from strangers. i was signed up to help, but then i moved, but i think the program went as planned.

i think it's a great idea whether volunteer organized with parents who rotate duty, non-parent community volunteers, or even paid escorts like school bus drivers (must be cheaper than operating a bus)
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Old 07-04-02, 11:23 AM   #15
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Walking Busses - We have three that follow different routes to our local school of 5-11 year olds. Every kid a a orange tabard so they can be seen in the winter and they push a big shopping trolly (donated by the local garden center as it says in big letters down the side) into which all the bags go. It is supervised by a pair of parents, one fore and aft on a rota basis.
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Old 07-04-02, 02:37 PM   #16
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The greatest risk to children is not posed by pedophiles, bad drivers or thugs. In 99% of all cases where children are harmed, it is by their parents. Unfortunately most physical and emotional abuse sustained by children is from parents.

This is a fact and it is undesputable. More children are beaten ever year by their own parents then by opportunistic strangers.

In fact, from a statistical standpoint, if these children have to leave their homes earlier and return later, they will most likely be safer.

Of course, most parents are not monsters, but still, when children are injured, it's generally at the hands of their parents.

But since as a society, we never acknowledge this fact, it's more convenient to focus our attention on the big, bad stranger.

Just some food for thought.

..............Richard
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Old 07-04-02, 09:44 PM   #17
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Just heard a report about the increasing level of obesity in children in Australia. Perhaps someone should send a message out to the parents:

"It is not healthy for your children to be this size. No, Johnny is not cute, he is not podgy, he is obese. I would like to step around the issue delicately, but I can't because a fat kid is blocking the way. Put the fork down, porky!"

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Old 07-05-02, 07:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by cycletourist
Parents are throwing a fit because their children "have no way to get to school now".
It is a shame that kids now "ride" almost exclusively in the 3rd row of an SUV rather than on the saddle of their bike.
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Old 07-05-02, 08:24 AM   #19
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I was spoiled rotten as a kid in this one way--raised by a non-driving, New York-socialized mother in Los Angeles and trained early on that our feet were for transportation with buses to help when feet wore out! FYI, worrying parents, I walked to school for almost all of my K-6 years and cycled (different neighborhood) after that, again, in Los Angeles ca. 1960-1972.
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Old 07-05-02, 11:52 AM   #20
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As a father of a beautiful six year old daughter, it scares me a little bit to think of my daughter riding to school by herself. In our town there have been two men arrested for possession/distribution of child pornography. We live a block shy of the 1.5 mile bus limit for our school district. My daughter could not ride the bus to kindergarten this year. Of course, kindergarten students in our district also are not allowed to ride their bikes to school.

With that said, this is not as big of an issue as they are making of it. I agree with most of what has already been said. My wife is a stay at home mom (not a common thing in the Chicago area anymore..it's too expensive to live here). She goes to school with my daughter. If she can't personally go with her, she makes sure our daughter goes with friends. She has also done a good job of educating our daughter of what to look out for.

Personally, I prefer that she doesn't ride the bus. That's more dangerous than walking or riding to school!
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