There are many reasons we love Oak Park (and why we chose Oak Park out of all areas in Chicago to live, when we moved here in April) – its diversity, the schools, the architecture (and legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright), the small independent shops and cafés.
We also enjoy how cycle-friendly Oak Park is, and so were shocked by another resident’s comments to our kids who were cycling a few weeks ago near their school in south Oak Park. While following the rules of Oak Park concerning cyclists, my kids and their friends (all between second and fourth grade elementary school age) were threatened by a man and his toddler on the sidewalk. As the boys cycled on the grass, to yield right of way to the pedestrians, the man first told the boys they could not ride on the sidewalks. The boys disagreed. Oak Park rules clearly published in the village Web pages state that children under 15 can ride on the sidewalks (except in the business districts) as long as they give way to pedestrians. The man then responded that if he saw the boys again on the sidewalk, he would run them over with his car. This left the boys shaken, and they rushed home to tell their parents.
First of all, it is irresponsible for a man with a child to threaten other children – it is verbally abusive as far as I am concerned. It is hard enough to get my kids to play outside without another resident threatening them for daring to enjoy playing outdoors. I can only hope the man who made those comments is reading this article and learns from his mistake.
Please continue to encourage your kids to cycle around our neighborhood – before the snow comes!