"The Maple Avenue Mind-Set"

bicycling magazine why johnny cant rideThe bizarre drama over whether a kid should be able to ride his bike to Maple Ave Middle School in Saratoga is rehashed in a recent issue of Bicycling magazine. The long article by David Darlington -- "Why Johnny Can't Ride" -- details the many turns in the story, but also argues it's part of a broader context involving health, urban planning, and helicopter parenting:

Schoolwise, this might be referred to as the Maple Avenue Mind-Set: passive acceptance of a status quo that promotes not only pollution and disease but also the lesson that children (who grow up to be citizens--and parents) are helpless. Amid this grand civic failure, the chief cause for encouragement comes from individuals who refuse to give in: the Marinos, Olsons, Skenazys, and Robinsons who prioritize fresh air and exploration and exercise, the powers-that-be be damned.

In a twist we wouldn't have guessed, the Shen school district and its superintendent -- Oliver Robinson -- are held up as an example of a more bike-friendly district.

(Thanks, Jess)

photo: Nathaniel Welch / Bicycling


Part of childhood is scraped up knees and bumps. I'm not sure when we starting believing our children were so fragile. I think we are robbing them of such a huge part of childhood when we take away their ability to just be kids. I recently went on a rant about how I take the sidelines at the park when my son is playing because the park is his time and his place to figure things out. And more importantly- just be a kid! It's here for anyone interested:

An exceptional article, thanks for sharing. It really does bring to light a number of issues regarding how our communities were laid out many decades ago and who has the power and authority to change that. Additionally, it tells us that as a society we really need to re-gear how we think of our surroundings; that bicyclists should ever be construed as a nuisance is mind-boggling.

I'm glad that they brought up the fear school officials have of lawsuits. Until we get rid of the potential liability they're faced with, we can't really expect them to get lax on these kinds of restrictions.

I also feel that i should note that i work on Maple Ave & run on it regularly, for as short a distance as i can possibly get away with in order to get to my back-roads running route. It's not a road i would ever describe as "safe" and in many cases i can see that the drivers are simply not paying attention to those of us on the side -- especially if they're trying to get around someone who's waiting to make a left turn.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Today's moment of autumn

A few sidewalk sunflowers along Colonial Ave in Albany are still hanging in there.... (more)

The From Scratch Club food swap back in Troy

The popular From Scratch Club food swap returns to the Oakwood Community Center in Troy this Sunday, October 11 with a both a swap and... (more)

Excited raccoon!

Check it out: The cover for the new book of essays by Jenny Lawson (AKA, The Bloggess) -- Furiously Happy -- was designed by local... (more)

Effort to buy, preserve, and re-display the South End Tavern signs

Sometimes a building or sign is in the same place for so long that it starts to feel like a part of the landscape, like... (more)

Capitol Hauntings tours are back

The popular Halloween tours of the state Capitol -- Capitol Hauntings -- start this week and run through October 30. Blurbage: Does the night watchman... (more)

Recent Comments

I went to polish school, I grew up eating polish food, I even help cook polish food at the biannual polish dinner/ dances and even dressed up like a polish soldier for parades, so l guess I'm polish AND there is nothing better than going to Muza's for the food I grew up that is just as good as moms.

Four fall hikes (and post-hike bites)

...has 3 comments, most recently from Katherine

Distilling the next life for Albany's oldest building

...has 11 comments, most recently from Kim

Morning Blend for Oct 5

...has 1 comment, most recently from J

The week ahead

...has 1 comment, most recently from Dan Roesser

Drawing: Prize basket for Local Harvest Festival

...has 89 comments, most recently from Paul