But my not-so-scientific research has revealed another reason, one
that trumps all the excuses offered by the CDC. First, however, let's
tackle CDC's list as it pertains to our local kids and schools.
Traffic: Anyone who has tried to drive from one end of town to the
other knows that parents should not use traffic as an excuse to drive
their kids to school. This area has more signals and stop signs than
Heinz has pickles. Not only do we have plenty of lights and signals
to make traffic safe, many of our schools have crossing guards at
intersections controlled by signals. Go figure.
Weather: Not an issue in these parts. The worst weather most of us
have seen in Mesa-Newport was El Nino a few years ago, and even that
winter was just a little splash. Kids today have it easy, unlike our
parents who had to walk 10 miles to school in the snow, uphill each
way, even in the summer.
Crime: I'm not sure what the CDC meant by this one. Did they find
that parents were afraid their kids would be victim of a crime or
commit one? I've read enough news reports to know that parents are
unnecessarily frightened of their kids being snatched off the street
by a total stranger but not one that stated that kids who walk or
bike to school become third-strikers by the time they're 14. Either
way, fear of crime is no reason to drive kids to school.
Distance: The Mesa-Newport area is chock full of schools. For most
kids, distance is not an issue, although I will make one concession.
The parents of many kids on the Westside of Costa Mesa need to plan a
week ahead and pack survival gear to get their kids over to TeWinkle
Middle School on time.
These four reasons are not even close to the real reason that kids
are not walking or biking to school much anymore.
The real reason -- supported by my major poll of three other
parents -- is that no one has time to get them ready to walk to
school in the morning. Getting kids of on a bike or by foot requires
some planning and a lot more time than simply tossing them and their
100-pound backpacks in the minivan.
Cay and I both get up about 6 a.m. During that time, we are