Friday, September 2, 2011
Lucky we don't live in Elizabethton, Tennesee
Wow. Small wonder some of the public says that government has gotten too big and arrogant. Here in Bombtown, our kids have Safe Routes to School.
It was considered perfectly normal for us kids to be out on the roads on our bikes at that age. I was riding three or four miles to the Millgrove Elementary School baseball fields during the summer when I was in 4th-6th grade. That included riding time on NY33 outside Buffalo, N.Y. NY 33 in Alden was a 50 mph road with car and heavy truck traffic.
We did just fine. My neighbor had a close call one day. He was blown off his bike by the wind blast coming off the side of an eighteen wheeler and needed a few stitches in his forehead. When they took out the stitches, a couple small pebbles came out. From then on, Mark was known as the kid "with rocks in his head". We survived and prospered.
Andy Clarke of the League of American Bicyclists comments here. For the most part, I agree with Andy when he says "...The basic principle that it really should be (and probably is in this case) perfectly reasonable for a capable 10-year old to ride her bike to school on local streets..." Furthermore, I wholeheartedly support the Safe Routes to School program. Having said that, I don't think the real problem here is with SRTS. If anything, having a SRTS program might imply to some people, such as the Elizabethton cops, that if you don't have a SRTS program in place then you better keep your damn kids off the road. That is just plain upside-down thinking. Law of Unintended Consequences, I guess.
If it is not safe for a competent ten year old to ride to school (and I'm assuming for the present that this young girl is competent to ride to school) then the job of the police is to MAKE IT SAFE. Not to have Child Protective Services take your kid away.