Oct 24, 2011
10:14 AMLife in the Tetons
Fewer Cars = Safer Routes to School
Late last summer I read about a Tennessee mother who was threatened with arrest for letting her 10-year-old daughter bicycle a mile to school. "The officer informed me that in his 'judgment' it was unsafe for my daughter to ride her bike to school," Teresa Tryon is quoted as saying, at the Bike Walk Tennessee website.
This blew mind at first; I bicycled a mile to school myself when I was that age. But then I began wondering about the nature of the road the young girl was riding on. My cycling to school took place in the early 1960s in a small Iowa town, a time and place where things were a lot slower and less clogged with cars than they are now.
However, I sincerely believe that even — or especially — in the 21st century every kid in America should have a safe route for walking or bicycling to school. That's why I found it very rewarding on Friday, October 14, to take part in an early morning ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new pathway in Driggs.
Tim Adams, executive director of Teton Valley Trails and Pathways, did the ribbon-snipping. Nancy and I and another volunteer served as guards at the three street crossings between Driggs City Park, where the ceremony was held, and Driggs Elementary School, helping the group of young cyclists and pedestrians navigate their way safely. Ironically, the most obvious danger for the kids riding bikes over that half mile was the traffic congestion at the school itself; all the cars and trucks driven by mothers and fathers and grandparents, delivering their kids safely to the front door.
You can get more information and inspiration at the website of the National Center for Safe Routes to School.