I like to ride my bike because it is fun, and I also get some exercise at the same time, while I am going to the pool, to the park, church and in the future to school.
For four years I have wanted to ride my bicycle to school during the school year and summer school, especially summer school! I see parents carrying their kid’s scooter or bike back home, because it is against the rules for kids to ride and lock bikes up at Lincoln school in Oak Park. Two years ago I rode to summer school at Mann, with my dad and locked it up out front. The very first day of summer school last year at Lincoln, I rode my bike to school, because I thought it would be alright to ride it during the summer. I locked it up in front to the railing next to at least three other bikes, because there is no bike rack. I was called to the principal’s office and then was taken outside to my bike and told I could not lock it up on school property. Five days later I rode my bike to school and locked it up to a tree on the public area between the street and the sidewalk. In the middle of summer school I was called down to the office by the principal, Ms. Hamilton, who told me I could never ride it to school. This made me feel frustrated, because it was not parked on school property, and I don’t think it is fair for the school to tell me how or how not to get to school. She suggested that I could lock it up a half block away in front of the Carroll Recreation center. There is a small wheel rack in between bushes, and it is not even attached to the ground. I was taught not to lock my bike up to wheel racks, because thieves can steel the frame of my bike by just loosening my wheel. I was also taught to lock it up in a spot that is in plain sight, a visible place that people walk past. There is also the fear of a $750 fine put on signs all over the school if we skateboard, rollerblade, or bike. And I can’t afford this with my allowance. The school told us they installed those signs because of teen skateboarders damaging property. I see skateboarders still using these areas every time I go to the school after hours.
During first through third grade I was able to ride my scooter to school, as a second choice to my bike. The principal let us keep it in the school office closet, with many other students’ scooters, until after school. But, in the middle of the year I was told that I could not ride my scooter to school anymore. This made me angry, because there was not a good reason to stop this. I feel that we the students should not be told how or how not to get to school. This is a student and parent decision. I am a safe bike rider, I wear a helmet and know the right way to lock up my bike. I think that the school principal and PTO should consider adding a bike rack out in front of Lincoln school for students, parents, voters, teachers and principals to use. This issue has been going as long as I have been a student. I have learned many good things from Lincoln, but also that bikes are bad, and we will get in trouble, commit a crime and get a $750 fine if I choose to ride it.
This week my dad gets to bike to work as part of the bike to school/work week. I am sad I can’t be a part of it. Even if I ride to school with my family, it is still against the rules, and there is nowhere safe to lock it up. I am now in summer school at Lincoln and there are kids in my class from other schools including Holmes, and Mann school, which let kids ride their bike to school. But, why can’t they ride to Lincoln to summer school?
I am so looking forward to riding to middle school with my friends.
I really hope you look again at your rules, take down the no biking signs, and promote safe biking, including to and from Lincoln.
Don’t be afraid of bike racks, remember green eggs and ham? Just try them, try them, you will see, bike racks are good for you and me!
Sullivan Stewart is a recent graduate of Lincoln School in Oak Park