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Many of us around here are big fans of encouraging school-age children (and their parents) to ride bicycles to school…it gives kids much-needed exercise and helps teach them that it IS possible to live car-lite. Besides, riding a bike to avoid gridlock around the school is a fantastic way to start and end the day.

And, with the incidences of diabetes and childhood obesity running rampant through the U.S. population, finding a way to use muscles instead of gasoline makes a lot of sense from a health perspective. So, it’s always troubling to hear when kids are thwarted in their attempts to do something positive for themselves and their environment…when school officials don’t allow children to ride bikes to school, we’re ALL in trouble. Here’s an example from last month, an incident in Saratoga, New York:

School officials in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., reprimanded a mother and her 12-year-old son for riding their bicycles to school on national Bike to Work day and confiscated the boy’s bike, according to a story in The Saratogian.

Janette Kaddo Marino and her son, Adam, 12, pedaled the seven miles from their home to Maple Avenue Middle School.

“After they arrived, mother and son were approached first by school security and then school administrators, who informed Marino that students are not permitted to ride their bikes to school,” the story said. “School officials took her son’s bike and stored it in the boiler room. They told her she would have to return with a car to retrieve the bike later in the day.”

Read the full story at Seattle PI by clicking here.

And, strangely enough, this isn’t a U.S.-only phenomenon. In fact, a very similar incident occured in Portsmouth, UK a week later:

A Portsmouth youngster has lost his year-long campaign to be allowed to cycle to school. Sam O’Shea, 11, has been told that the road outside St Paul’s Catholic Primary School is not safe enough to use.

Authorities are sticking by their October 2008 decision – despite the fact that Sam and his family persuaded the city council to bring forward a planned redesign of the road layout. They also arranged for a professional risk assessment, which found that the street was safe for children to cycle on.

The full article can be found on Bike Radar by clicking here.

Troubling times, indeed. A tip of the foam hat to our friend Shek for bringing these two articles to our attention.

If any of you have had similar run-ins, please let us know about them in the comments.