Catholic kids riding bikes

I live fairly near a Catholic school and need to drive near it around the time all the kids are riding towards the school.

I don’t happen to live near the public school. I guess this really has nothing to do with them being Catholic.

Anyway, hardly any of them wear helmets, some ride on the sidewalks, some in the street, weaving from side to side, crossing away from the school to stop at the bakery, etc.

I usually try to go the other direction to work (the long way) if I need to drive at that time, but then sometimes I forget and get in the middle of them.

It really bothers me that these children don’t know how to ride their bikes safely. Please don’t think I am against bicycle riding; my husband rides his bike to downtown Cleveland to work almost every day and we have seven bikes in our garage (three family members total). I am just really concerned that some kid is going to suddenly zip out in front of a car and get hurt or worse.

Should I write a letter to the principal of the school and suggest that they talk to the children about bicycle safety? Would that be a nun? How would I find out? (I guess I’d call the school to find out?)

Or should I just continue to drive the other way and pretend that if I don’t know it is happening, it isn’t really happening?


I would contact the principal. He or she could have an assembly about bike safety.

A letter to the editor of your local newspaper might not be a bad idea, either.

The days when the principal of a Catholic (elementary) school was universally a nun are long past. I would not make that assumption. You can, of course, simply address it to “Dear Principal” or you could call the school and ask for the principal’s name.

This site lists all the Catholic schools in the Cleveland Diocese. Many of the schools have web sites or general e-mail addresses (although many of the links are broken), but they all have the addresses and phone numbers.

      • That should read “…don’t know how to ride their bikes as safely as I’d like”.

  • A lot of people think the “childrens’ total safety trend” is a bit silly. As for “not wearing helmets” and “weaving back and forth across the street”, that’s how kids normally ride bikes, if there are no safety Nazis around making them do it “correctly”. Would you want total strangers telling you that you are a poor parent?

No helmets alone counts as unsafe for me, DougC. I think it’s illegal here for ppl under 18 to cycle w/o a helmet, and rightly so - serious injury is so easy to avoid. There was an incident here this spring that made all the papers; this guy just moved here from overseas, position at the UofA as a professor, the usual “things going great”… smacked his head on a girder when he fell crossing the High Level bridge. If he’d been wearing a helmet he’d be alive, but as he wasn’t, he’s not.

Some things done “for the children” are dumb. (Removing playground equipment and cutting down all trees comes to mind…) Other make sense.

Sometimes they ride six across and you have to creep along behind them.

On the way home in the afternoons they often knock over trash cans.

Yea, I guess I’m just a Nazi trying to get people to march to the beat of my drummer.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call you a safety Nazi, Lillith Fair. There are rules of the road that need to be followed, whether you’re driving a car or riding a bike.

Personally, I think the helmets and knee pads and elbow pads, etc. we make kids wear nowadays are a little excessive. We never needed them when we were kids, did we? But we were expected to follow basic traffic regulations when were sharing the road with cars, and that meant riding in single file along the side of the street, stopping at red lights and stop signs, no weaving around into traffic, and so on. So a call or a note to the principal of the school urging a few lessons in safety might not be such a bad idea.

Just curious why you would title it Catholic kids riding bikes then? Seems a bit misleading. :dubious:

Presumably the kids who died from bicycle accident injuries preventable by helmets are not posting on the SDMB

I was rding down the road once when I was about 11-ish, bike hit a rock or some suck small thing, I flipped foward off it and landed head first on the curb. Cracked he helmet in half. I sure don’t think helmets are excessive. :slight_smile:

And yet… I was born in 1963. I rode bikes from 1971 or so (whenever I graduated from a tricycle) through college.

I never had a helmet. None of my friends had helmets. We would have thought the very idea ludicrous.

And yet, somehow, we survived.

Is it correct to say that riding a bike without a helmet is reckless or negligent, given that the requirement is fairly recent in the history of mankind and bicycles?

  • Rick

Until 15 years ago almost no one wore a bicycle helmet. I feel sorry for kids these days who have to be padded and helmeted before they can walk out their front door.

I guess it’s a good idea to be protective, but we got along without all these precautions and so could our kids.

Not misleading, just a poor choice of titles, perhaps. Not something that I found offensive (I admit to clicking on the thread because I was wondering if there was some rumor going around that Catholic kids weren’t allowed to ride bikes).
Anyway, I’d give the school a call and tell the principal what you’ve seen and what ideas you think might be helpful - including, maybe, an assembly - perhaps a police officer could be brought in to talk to the kids, or someone else. They probably prefer coming to talk to an auditorium of live kids than having to tell someone’s parents that their kid has been killed. The helmet issue alone is one that I think is important.

Also, the idea of kids weaving in and out of the street when there are cars there as well bothers me - sure, kids are going to cross the streets on their bikes, but some basic safety tips - watching for cars, don’t suddenly change direction when there are moving cars around and the like.

A letter or phone call to the principal describing the unsafe behavior would be the thing to do. Mention helmets or not, up to you, but do describe the six riding side-by-side, crossing the streets, weaving etc. With 12 years of Catholic school behind me, I can tell you that the principal would want to hear your opinion, as a neighbor, of the kids’ behavior. I remember not a few comments by the principal concerning student behavior on the buses to and from school (this was high school, btw). But I think in elementary school the same thing would apply, but would perhaps be directed at the parents. Express some concern, as it seems you are, well, concerned.

Regarding this point, DougC, how do you drive when there are no safety Nazi cops around to tell you how? :rolleyes:

I didn’t think it was offensive, but I clicked on it for the same reason you did, that there was something specific about Catholics and bikes, like she noticed they were praying to them, or put communion wafers in the spokes. It was misleading…I wanted something freaky :slight_smile:

Just because we didn’t used to have a particular piece of safety equipment and many of us survived without it, doesn’t mean that the safety equipment is useless.

There’s nothing over-protective about making your kid wear a helmet when they’re riding a bike. First of all, kids do dumb things on bikes. They’re kids. It’s what they do. Second, kids are severely outweighed by automobiles. In a car vs. kid on bike collision, the car is always going to win. The combination of these two factors makes me think that wearing a helmet is not stupid or overprotective; it’s just smart.

I agree that contacting the principal is probably the best way to handle this, by the way.

MY SO was riding his bike to work this summer, and had to brake a quickly for a red light he didn’t anticipate. He flipped over the handlebars, cracked his helmet, scraped up his CSA-approved sunglasses, sprained his left elbow, broke his right one,severely dislocated his right wrist, scrapped up his knees and most of the left side of his face, and needed six stitches in his chin.

I think its possible to be TOO padded, but IMHO, a helmet is a must. It’s just so easy to hit your head and hurt yourself severely. The doctors said that if it wasn’t for those sunglasses, there was a real chance he would have lost an eye, and who knows what could have happened without a helmet.

I think it is incredibly naive to say that just because it wasn’t required of YOU as a child, it shouldn’t be required today. I’m sure there are PLENTY of things that were done 30 years ago that aren’t done today, or at least done in a safer manner now. Kids DO get hurt, and sometimes in stupid ways. In Hamilton, (IIRC) 4 kids were hit on their bikes within less than a WEEK on their ways to school last month. How many others, in how many different towns? It’s reasonable to be concerned, and to want these kids to stay safe.

AFAIConcerned, NOT wearing a helmet is stupid, and THAT is “uncool”.

Not weaving across the road, sure, that’s an issue. Some basic road safety trianing would be a very good idea.

I’m really not convinced about the helmet issue. I do wear mine, partly because it’s the law, partly because it has a nice peak that keeps the sun out of my eyes. And I’m totally there with helmets for motorcycling, and lights for night bicycling, and seatbelt laws and drink-driving laws, so I’m not objecting to safety regulation in general.

But as I understand it, there isn’t any solid research suggesting that they do any good for bicyclists. Head injuries tend to be not to the top or sides but the front of the head. Face plant injuries don’t get prevented. (And possibly even are worsened with rotational effects to the side or back, as the force transmitted through the strap twists the accident victims neck. A helmet being broken doesn’t necessarily mean your head would have been.)

Some analysis of statistics in Australia:

A Canadian one:

A British one:

There was a time when there were no health code regulations, either – nothing to prevent restaurants from serving up a hearty dose of salmonella. And yet somehow, people survived.

Do you REALLY want to argue that health code regulations are excessive and ludicruous?