Friday, June 17, 2011


On Monday morning there was a police officer at my Daughters' school.  The officer was doing a bicycle safety seminar and bike ride around the surrounding neighborhood.  My daughter let me know that I needed to pack her bike in the car so that her mom could drop it off. 

Ashli decided that she wanted to ride the bike home.  Now, as the crow flies, we only live about a mile away from the school or two miles if you are driving, so about a mile on bikes, but the school provides a bus due to a fairly busy road that intersects the route.  Ashli informed us that there was a crossing guard and we proceeded to let her do it.  I mean she went to a safety lecture.  

Turns out she beats the bus home by 10 minutes.  She rides with a friend and on further inspection the crossing guard turns out to be a cross walk.  Insert feigned ignorance here.  She absolutely loves it.  She passed me on her way to school as I was walking to the train and the look of joy on her face is priceless.  She and her friend are biking all the time and going everywhere.  She can ride to a pet store, a McDonalds, and many other places including just around the neighborhood. 

Now, I come from a slightly different era when this was pretty much the norm and not the exception.  My mom let me ride my bike to the pool and back when I was in second grade.  I don't think she really thought I knew the way (I wasn't sure myself) and thought I would be home given up in about 20 minutes.  We only lived about a mile away at that time.  But I made it.  In today's world, my mom not only let me ride my bike unsupervised, but let me go to pool unsupervised, and they let me in.  This has nothing on the summer of my 4th grade year at the lifeguardless apartment pool. 

As curiosity usually does, it got the best of me.  I went online looking at what age parents generally let their kids ride their bike to school.  I was astonished to find out that I was a bad parent.  Some parents stated that they didn't let their 15 year olds ride their bikes to school.  Really?  I would hate to be that kid.  Then I came across a great website called Free Range Kids.  She is a much "worse" parent than me because she lets her kid ride the subway in New York City.  She actually was labeled World's Worst Parent or some such by the morning news/gossip shows.   Really?  I have some moms I would like to introduce them to (kaylee anthony's mom, anyone).  But the site shows how society has gone to far. 

Some statistics:
Children are more likely to be abducted by a family member; 82%. Only about 4,000 children per year are abduced by someone they don't know and even then it takes place relatively close to home.  A child is 100 times more likely of running away than being abducted.  NCJRS states that in its study year, only 115 steriotypical kidnappings happened. 

The obesity rate in the United States just keeps going up. 

Do I worry?  Sure, everyday.  I also worry if her teacher is touching her or if their is a weirdo in the mall bathroom, but I let her go to school and to the bathroom and hope that I have prepared her to know what to do in these situations.  Personal observation leads me to believe there is a much higher chance of sexual assault or encounter on the school bus than of abduction from a bike. 

1 comment:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My brother and I used to go everywhere without supervision. Times have changed, but if you are comfortable with it, don't worry.