Nathaniel Welch

Districts that ban bicycling to school: A sign of the times

Sarasota Springs, NY -- According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, only 13 percent of all children walked or biked to school in 2009. In 1969, that number was nearly four times as high at 48 percent.

Perhaps it was because parents weren't as protective of their children in those days, but perhaps it's a sign of the times and a byproduct of our reliance on vehicles in the United States for the past 100 years.

In 2012, of the children that lived within one mile of their school, only 38 percent of them rode or walked. That's down from 88 percent 40 years ago.

Maybe it doesn't help that some schools have completely banned walking and biking to school, citing safety issues with growing traffic congestion.

Consider this following story:

Adam Marino, a 12-year-old boy fighting Type-1 Diabetes, tried biking to school with his mother three years ago on Bike to Work Day in May 2009. Upon arrival, Adam made it safely into the school, while his mother, Janette, was met with the vice principle, stating that biking to school was "against school policy."

Sound absurd?

Janette and Adam Marino definitely thought so.

After meeting resistance from the school's administrators for riding to school, they continued to do so anyway, and were eventually joined by a few friends. In June 2009, the school's board of directors consequently decided to hold a review of the school and district's transportation policy.

After a hefty study and analytical due diligence of the school's transportation policy, trouble sites and safety solutions, they came to an agreement: Students no longer had to ride in a car or bus to school -- especially if they lived right across the street.

The policy change was slow and met with huge resistance -- but it's not everyday a young man and his mother stand up to the state just to ride their bikes to school.

Read the full story here.

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