Sloth isn’t the sole reason kids aren’t riding their bikes to school. At
Principal James Riccobono refused the students’ gift, citing safety concerns. The road to the school, he says, is too cluttered with traffic to make cycling conditions safe. (Meanwhile, a student noted, the school provides parking spaces to every senior.)
From the Star-Ledger:
“It didn’t seem that logical. It would be at no cost to them," [club co-president Michelle] Slosberg, 18, said yesterday as she slipped on her bike helmet and prepared for a nearly 20-minute ride home.
"Actually, they said no on Earth Day," remarked Katherine Dransfield, a senior who has tried, with a group of other students, to start a bike club. "Essentially what they told us was that they didn’t want to promote biking as a way to get to school."
Slosberg and Dransfield said Riccobono expressed concerns over the safety of students jostling with the heavy bus and car traffic in front of the school and biking along busy Garretson Road. But many students don’t see it that way.
Senior Talia Perry, 18, dressed in sporty biking gear and sunglasses, said she and her friends were quite "worked up" after the school refused "what we portrayed as a gift to the school." Offended by the snub, students promptly began planning a response.
Yesterday, more than 50 students rode their bikes to school, commuting in pairs and groups. After studying up on state biking laws — and carrying copies with them — the students legally tethered their bikes in conspicuous clusters around lamp posts, trees and other poles dotting the circular drive in front of the school.
The students’ protest didn’t change Riccobono’s stance. In response, he issued an unwavering statement:
"In as much as the district provides courtesy busing to students who live within walking distance of the high school, because of the danger on
Students who cycle to school are left to lock their bikes to a fence in a swampy area behind the school.
Ricccobono’s refusal to provide his students with so basic an item as a bike rack is shameful. It he truly had the students’ best interest in mind, he would encourage cycling (and walking) to school and take action to reduce the dangerous traffic on nearby streets.
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