"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

Stuff to do this weekend

Welcome to the holiday season in the Capital Region -- when there are more things to do than you can shake a peppermint stick at.... (more)

Happy Thanksgiving!

We wish you a happy Thanksgiving. (We hope it involves pie.) Thank you for being a part of AOA this year.... (more)

"A day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in this State"

Until 1863 "days of Thanksgiving" were irregularly observed holidays in the United States. That's when Abraham Lincoln -- at the urging of Sarah Josepha Hale,... (more)

What's up in the Neighborhood

Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Bob & Ron's, local icons, a choice facing Albany, close calls,... (more)

"I think it feels like Thanksgiving."

Stripping is labor -- both physical and emotional. So, if you're a stripper working on Thanksgiving, do you get time-and-a-half and 1.5x tips? Helping to... (more)

Recent Comments

Needs more monorail.

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 1 comment, most recently from RH

Happy Thanksgiving!

...has 1 comment, most recently from mg

They came from the Capital Region

...has 84 comments, most recently from Brad J

Another view of the ESP that didn't quite happen

...has 5 comments, most recently from Ann

Crepes at The French Press Cafe and Creperie

...has 6 comments, most recently from BS