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10-Year-Old Not Old Enough to Bike to School?

Tennessee mom, Teresa Tryon was told by police she would be breaking the law if she allowed her daughter to ride her bike one mile to school.

Teresa Tryon, a mom from Tennessee, has been threatened with prosecution by the Elizabethton police for allowing her 10-year-old daughter to ride her bike one mile to school.

A police officer observed the child riding her bike and felt that the route was unsafe for her to ride unsupervised. He stopped the girl, put her and her bike in his car and drove her home. The officer told the mother that she should not allow her daughter to ride her bike to school.

According to Tricities.com, Police Chief Matt Bailey had this to say: "We would be derelict in our duty if we didn't say, 'Hey, we've got some issues about her safety." He added, "No one violated a city ordinance and no one wants to violate bikers' rights."

According to Bike Walk Tennesee, Tryon spoke with Police Major Rust Verran of the police department. He said "Her daughter was indeed breaking no laws at any level, but it was Ms. Tryon who was breaking the law by allowing her daughter to ride/walk to school. Even though it only takes her daughter 7 to 9 minutes to bicycle to school, she is expected to ride the bus."

Tryon believes that the police should not be the ones who decide if it is safe for her child to bike to school.

The Moms Council lets readers know their opinions on the subject. You can let us know what you think in the comments below.

Wendy Bucknum says: Parents should be the ones to say if their kids should ride their bike. If the kids break the rules of the road and the police have to get involved by speaking to them and advising me as the parent, I will be very appreciative of them doing so in an effort to keep my child safe.

Christine Atwood says: It is obvious that Teresa's 10-year old child lacks the maturity to ride the route safely and in this case I believe the officer did the right thing. A police officer's job is to protect and serve the community and in this, I believe, he did his job well.

Paula Wallace says: That is ridiculous! Police shouldn't have any say unless it is their kid. I personally would not let my child ride that far unsupervised, but i am not the mother of that child and i don't know the circumstances.....to threaten her with CPS is wrong!

Jen Crocker says: The police should not be able to decide that. However, then the city should should have to provide a safe route or provide free transportation if the police think they want to call child services.

Look for Mom Talk every Wednesday at 1 p.m. for parenting topics, and get into the discussion.

Shripathi Kamath September 14, 2011 at 08:14 PM
I concur with Christine Atwood's position. A policeman is assumed to be well-trained in exercising such judgment, and it'd appear that he did so. There is no malice that is obvious on his part. It seems he determined that the ride would not be safe for the kid, and he should be commended for taking the right precaution. The alternative that the police did so (in Republican Tennessee, the home of the Tea Party who do not like governmental influence selectively) for some gain. I struggle to see that. What is also not mentioned above is that a kid was killed after getting struck by a car on the same street a few years ago. Perhaps that weighed on the minds of the police as well.
Tatjana Verzella September 14, 2011 at 09:30 PM
The streets should be safe enough for a ten year old to ride their bike to school. When I was way younger than ten I was walking to school, learning about life. The girl should be safe under the watchful eye of the police and they should not be harassing parents, but working together. Fear fear and punishment. Where does it all end? What are we teaching our children?
Julie Flores September 14, 2011 at 10:56 PM
Maybe the city should consider putting in some bike lanes.
Shripathi Kamath September 14, 2011 at 11:14 PM
Maybe they should. Maybe it'll even help. Maybe it won't. However, the question was whether the police acted responsibly or whether the parent is right to feel offended at a police officer deciding what is safe for her kid on that street.

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