Dropping Kids at School

Since I don’t have kids, I don’t know why this has happened. From a very early age (1st grade) I walked to school. We lived probably a mile, maybe a little less, but a group of us neighbor kids would gather and stroll to classes every day. Probably by the 4th grade, I graduated to bicycling to school (I remember my cherry Schwinn Stingray being stolen, and being distraught over it). By high school, I was walking or cycling probably 2.5 miles to school, and there were some kids who came in by bus.  Unless it was raining really hard, we didn’t get a ride from one of the parents.

But that is not how it works today. There are still buses, and there is a stop near my house, I see high school aged kids get on at 6:50AM. But I also live about 2 blocks from an elementary school. They have actually re-configured the street to accommodate the long line of cars to drop kids off. After school, there is a queue to pick up kids that extends about 3 blocks (and it is hugely disruptive).

What changed?

Serious question. I don’t think the streets are any less dangerous (and we has cross walk guardians when I was in grade school, some 40 years ago). I believe that the rate of stranger abductions is about constant (although there is a lot more media coverage that sensationalizes the cases). Are there fewer buses to carry kids who are too far to walk to school? Or is it just expected that helicopter mom’s will be driving little Suzy to class every day? If anything, the idiocy that I see with the parents trying to beat a red light (and wait one more cycle) to get little Johnny to class is more dangerous that walking.

I learned very early on some simple rules. Memorize your address. Know your phone number. Don’t accept rides from strangers. Strangers offering free {candy|ice cream|toys} are to be avoided at all cost. Never be afraid to approach an adult and ask for help. Cross only in crosswalks, and when the lights permit it. Know the rules of the road (when bicycling) and ride safe.

One thing that I will say, many of the kids I see being dropped off could use the exercise of walking to school.


Arizona Quirks

No secret is the fact that I moved from Tucson to Chandler last summer. So far, the experience has been great. Roads are better maintained, there are streetlights, and most of the neighborhoods are well planned, and laid out with plenty of green space. My wife and I compare it to “Sunnyvale” where no dangerous critters are allowed.  Cool so far.

However, there is a problem. It appears that people think it is OK to ride their bikes on the sidewalks. Apart from young children (say, less than 8 years old), all people should be riding in the street and obeying the rules of the road. But that appears to be missing in Arizona. Today, at lunch, I was walking (for exercise) and was almost creamed by a cyclist riding very fast on the sidewalk. I have been out with my dogs, walking on the sidewalk, and again, almost taken clean out. On a busy road (Gilbert Road).

Da fuq is up with that?

Later: Do they not teach kids here how to use hand signals?