"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

Comments

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:
http://www.themommypsychologist.com/2012/04/30/helicopter-parenting-just-isnt-my-style/

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

A quick recap of the week

Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA: + Eric asked about the experiences families have had with Albany schools -- and... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

It's Memorial Day weekend. Time to fire up the barbecue grill and kick off the unofficial start of summer by doing fun stuff. This week... (more)

A few bits about that big, new mural going up on the side of the Quackenbush Garage in Albany

Maybe you've noticed the new mural going up on the south face of the Quackenbush Garage in downtown Albany. Here's what's up with that, along... (more)

A restaurant for regular group meetings?

Anne emails: I am a member of a service group that meets 2 evenings a month, during the week. We are looking for a restaurant/food... (more)

New York State city and town populations 2016

The Capital Region has some of the state's fastest growing towns in terms of population percentage change. That's one of the bits from new population... (more)

Recent Comments

I've found that anecdotes from neighbors, friends, or internet "strangers" can only take you so far. If you haven't already, I strongly recommend you get out there and visit these schools during the school year, during the school day to get a feel for things. In the last few months, my wife and I have made a series of visits to our local elementary, middle + high-school. During those visits, we had the chance to talk to multiple teachers and see the kids "in action". It was very VERY telling in a lot of ways - both good and bad.

A few bits about that big, new mural going up on the side of the Quackenbush Garage in Albany

...has 5 comments, most recently from Jamie

Fields Sculpture Park at Omi 2017

...has 3 comments, most recently from Jamie

A restaurant for regular group meetings?

...has 6 comments, most recently from Jamie

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 3 comments, most recently from JK

Where to get an Apple laptop fixed?

...has 8 comments, most recently from Greg