In the wake of the Rebecca Johns fatality earlier this week, WUSA has a story on keeping your kids safe while biking to school. Unfortunately in only focuses on two things
1. Putting a helmet on your kids
2. Not letting them bike to school alone until they're 10 years old
So, to some extent their answer to the question of how to keep your kid safe while biking to school is to drive them.
The helmet part pulls out the "85% effective" stat again (Is this canard required for medical school graduates?) and states that it has been "proven over and over again to prevent serious head injuries, concussions, broken bones and even bleeding inside of the head" which I don't believe is true (that it has been proven). I worry that I sound anti-helmet and I'm not. It's just in an article about how to keep your kids safe while biking I wouldn't dedicate 5 paragraphs out of 6 to helmets. How about teaching them where and how to cross a street safely - since that played a larger role in Johns' accident than the lack of a helmet. We don't even know if she was or was not wearing a helmet. Or mentioning the usual items - watching for cars at driveways, not riding after dark, riding with traffic even on the sidewalk, etc..or suggesting a class? Sigh.
TBD/ABC7 meanwhile ran a story about how neighbors have complained for years about the road and how hard it is to safely cross.
Resident say there is no safe place to cross Franconia, which is the site of a park and two schools, and is frequented by children. Pedestrians and bikers only have a paved trail on the north side of the road to travel on.
"There are some painted crosswalks, but I don't trust a driver to stop just to let me cross to the other side," said Matt Iden, another neighbor.
Mary Kelly says she's complained to state legislators and VDOT for years but without success.
"VDOT says it's really just a traffic problem," Kelly said. "'We don't have money to widen the roads and there's nothing the county can do about it.'"
There are plenty of things VDOT can do to make the street safer. If that's true, that they said this, it's tragic.
ABC7 has gotten much better on these stories since they started working with TBD by the way.