Earth Day And Forbidden Biking

My son used to attend Haskell Elementary School in Granada Hills, where I was frustrated to learn that biking to school was forbidden for children in grades K-4, and technically allowed, but generally discouraged, for children in fifth grade.

In honor of Earth Day, I plan to do two things: only use my bike for all intra-Granada Hills trips, and post a link to this editorial that I wrote for the L.A. Times, which was inspired by the whole anti-bike fiasco I endured at Haskell.

Despite support from School Board Member Tamar Galatzan's office, I never succeeded in persuading Haskell's administration to stop trying to make rules governing a parent-supervised, outside-of-school-hours, off-campus activity, but I'm still a bike advocate, and I still believe that nothing could be more healthy, wholesome, and independence-fostering for a kid than getting to school under their own power.

Enjoy the article.

Why kids can't be kids

March 29, 2007|L.J. Williamson, L.J. WILLIAMSON ( is a freelance writer in Los Angeles.

ONE SUNNY afternoon as our children played nearby, I asked a neighbor at what age she would allow her son to bicycle around the block by himself.



  1. I used to ride my bike to Haskell in the mid 60s...I loved it, except for the time I left my beloved magenta pink Schwinn at school. I totally forgot I rode it to school, and walked home. Thankfully it was still there the next day. I rode my bike all around Granada Hills, and was encourage to do so by my parents. Sorry to hear that Haskell is discouraging the practice.

  2. it's all the bad people like rapist crazy car owners. I also use to ride a bike when i wass younger and kids used to play outside. I don't drive anymore i walk until I can afford a bike. Car drivers don't care about anyone but themselves. my husband and I almost got ran over 4 times in one day and it's scary when a huge escalde come by on a redlight and practically runs you over and thinking its the walkers fault . I blame people and electronics. Also yeah some ride bikes now but having it electric doesn't mean your doing better. Work that fat off do something else then drive and hurting our kids. NO kids go out side anymore it's shame, now teenagers have no respect for anyone they tag on peoples property's in Granada hills. Is this what the world is coming to cuz if we keep this up were only killing ourselves and each other. SO everyone needs to change in a way get rid of the cars STOP being lazy!!!!

  3. I encouraged my kids, (okay I forced them unless I made them late) to walk to school. Both elementary and junior high.

    I don't think there are rapists out there cruising schools looking for kids. I doubt strangers snatch kids off the streets for the most part. I think the media hype of the very few times a complete stranger snatches a kid is enough to scare parents to death. If you pay close attention to the statistics, I think you'll find that 99% of the time, a kidnap or rape is done by a family member or friend. The scariest thing around the schools in Granada Hills in the morning is the parents who are RUSHING to drive their kids the 2 blocks and then sitting there with their cars running and all exposing the kids to all that exhaust and then when they pull away from letting their kid jay walk, they forget they're parents and start speeding, then they won't let the kid in the cross walk go. I've witnessed it time and time again.

    Excellent article Linda and I agree with your opinion on bikes and elementary schools. How about that "no running on the playground" rule??

  4. Today as I picked my son up from Granada High School, there was a woman lying in the crosswalk on her stomach. The ambulance was coming. It was awful. Kids were witness. The jerks laughed and took pictures. Other kids tried not to stare and felt bad. I can't believe some of the parents who are raising kids here.


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