Back-to-School Season Brings Bike-to-School Bans
As schools across the country open their doors for another year, Robert Ping of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership says students are increasingly facing "bans" against walking and biking to campus. Network member BikePortland.org reports:
"It’s pervasive throughout the country and we’re hearing about it more and more,” [Ping] said. The problem, according to Ping, is that many school principals and administrators feel that biking and walking to school is simply unsafe. They are concerned about being held liable for anything that happens during the trip to and/or from school.
In addition to studying the current scope of the problem, the Safe Routes National Partnership is putting together a team of legal experts who will craft a legal statement directed at school principals, outlining why improving biking and walking options will not increase their liability exposure. They hope the legal statement will also help allay the fears that lead to bike ban policies in the first place.
Though, as Ping points out, principals can't actually stop students from walking and biking, they can use their influence to discourage it. Administrators can also deny students a decent place to store their bikes during the school day. But if the issue is safety and liability, what about those high school parking lots?
Ping said one safe routes advocate he heard from countered a bike ban in their community by asking the principal whether or not he felt liable for kids who drive to school. “That’s a great way to push back on this idea.”
In a somewhat related post featured on the Network today, Car Free With Kids sings the praises of raising a toddler on transit. Also: The Overhead Wire notes light rail progress in Houston, while Streetsblog LA finds controversy over one Metro rail line; Gateway Streets maps "desire paths" in St. Louis's Forest Park; and NY Examiner analyzes another case of motorist-on-cyclist violence, this time in Staten Island.