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Footwear on Bikes

Original post made by Safety First, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 8, 2007


As I take my child to school I often notice how inappropriate some kids' footwear is for riding bikes and scooters. I see many kids on both with only flip flops, or open toed sandals, or shoes without a back. I have often seen children come off bikes or scooters (I saw this twice today). It really seems very dangerous having bad footwear as in any situation where the rider needs to use their feet to protect them in a sudden movement, the toes are the first thing to get hurt. Yes, wear helmets, but remember that grazed toes and feet are just as likely in a tumble.

This goes for adults too. Correct foortwear should be modeled to our children and then it will be easier for them to see what is the correct attire.

Comments (12)

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Posted by Lindsay
a resident of Ventura
on May 8, 2007 at 7:25 pm

And I thought I was the only "mean" parent who makes her kids wear closed toe shoes while riding! We switched to Keen sandals for just that reason.


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Posted by Mom of 3, sibling of 4
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 9, 2007 at 5:43 pm

What is the big deal? If kids scrape their toes or "get hurt", it's hardly life threatening. Children learn best from experience. What is really the worst thing that can happen? a stubbed toe? a skinned knee? Children who are over protected can have a difficult time making decisions and problem solving. I say let the kids choose if they want to have a stubbed toe or not. If THEY don't like the feeling of the injury (if it in fact happens to them...really, it may not), then they can LEARN to protect their toes by wearing proper shoes. Being able to make simple choices for themselves is empowing and it builds confidence and self esteem. Now if we were talking about helmets or unclipped helmets, then that's a different story. Brain injury is major and kids should be forced to comply. Besides it's the law. Buy a box of banaids and let the kids choose. Overprotection is a huge disservice to your wonderful son or daughter. I'm a teacher and I see kids who can't bounce back from a very minor injury on the playground; it's almost dibilitating for them. It's really sad. Bumps and bruises are a part of childhood.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 9, 2007 at 8:48 pm

Bumps and bruises are part of childhood. Losing a toenail is a painful experience and takes a long time to regrow. Spending unnecessary time in an emergency room is a burden on the whole family. A few scars that can be shown off as war wounds may not matter, but who can tell how serious any scrape can be. Yes, we cannot wrap the children up in cotton wool, but we can teach them to take sensible precautions. Bike helmets make a lot of sense, so do knee pads and elbow pads when roller blading or skateboarding. Wearing an athletic cup (boys) is also a good idea. A scraped knee or toe is one thing, missing out on life due to inadequate precautions while recovering from stitches is just not fun.

My kids are very active, do sports and have the right gear. Still, I have spent many evenings in the emergency room which I do not enjoy. They have all had stitches, they all get cuts and bruises. They do not cry and they do bounce back. I would rather protect them just a little to save them from more.


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Posted by Let's regulate
a resident of Meadow Park
on May 9, 2007 at 11:08 pm

Surely there is a way that the City of PA can regulate this. The council should pass laws addressing the issue of proper footwear on bikes. then we can have police make sure there is compliance with the law and now that they have tasers they will have the proper weapons to use on people who bike in sandals.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2007 at 5:43 pm

Mom of 3

I do not mean to appear over critical, but as a teacher I feel that you should see the sense of taking sensible precautions against even minor injury. I do agree that a child can learn from their mistakes, particularly if they are being stubborn about something that they should be doing anyway. I also know that there are some over protected children who are scared of doing anything in case they get hurt and when they do act if it is the end of the world. However, I think that sensible precautions against even minor injury are just sensible. As a teacher, I am sure that you have urged your class to come to field trips with sensible clothing, sunscreen, bug spray, hats, or whatever, to enable the field trip to go smoothly and with less hassle for you as a teacher. And, if someone did get sunburnt, stung by a bee, or whatever, that you had the necessary compassion for them rather than a "told you so" attitude.

I think that sensible precautions for all outside activities makes sense. Teaching your children what these precautions are also makes sense rather than not telling them and expecting to pick it up by themselves.

I have always told my children to use sunscreen and it is only after they have gone their own way once and not used it and realised the pain that sunburn causes that they realise they have been protected in the past and they should do what Mom says, because yes, she does know best. For me not to have told them would have been wrong on my part.


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Posted by Feet First
a resident of Community Center
on May 12, 2007 at 11:28 pm

I like wearing sandals on my bike myself and happy to see my kids do it too. Maybe our bike rides aren't as long and arduous as yours, but for a quick trip to school or the park, it actually feels quite nice.

Nothing wrong with people who want to wear more - long pants and sleeves if you like, knee pads, whatever - but, just as people have different standards of, say, housecleaning or hand-washing, some will just throw caution to the wind and let their toes fly free.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2007 at 11:43 pm

Having been pitched over the handlebars of a bike and lucky to escape with my teeth and face (sort of) intact when I was a teenager, I have no sympathy for people who don't take common sense precautions and teach their kids to do the same. I actually had no idea I was endangering myself, and would have done things differently had I known. I see kids all the time carrying packs and bags that could swing into the spokes (as caused my accident). Scrapes are the least thing that could happen if something goes wrong and kids are riding barefoot. Safety first. Safety first! Just because you get away with unsafe behavior once, twice, fifty times, doesn't mean you will forever -- are the consequences worth it, especially if prevention is something as simple as just wearing your shoes?


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Posted by Feet First
a resident of Community Center
on May 19, 2007 at 11:01 am

To each their own footwear ;-) In the list of things I worry about for my kids (from TV influence to obesity to riding in cars driven by teenagers) choice of biking footwear is not so high on the list. But that shouldn't stop others from choosing what suits them of course.


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Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 26, 2007 at 7:26 pm

I fell off my bike last year and broke my ankle. I was wearing jeans and leather shoes at the time. My shoes were badly scraped so much so that they had holes and had to be thrown away. I was in a great deal of pain from my ankle injury plus a great deal of bruising, but it would have been a lot worse if I had not been wearing jeans and sensible shoes as I would probably have needed stitches for damage to my feet. That would have made my injury a lot more difficult to deal with. I was very pleased that I was wearing something to protect my legs and feet.

I would not want any child to injure themselves the way I was from my accident (totally my own fault). Yes, cuts and bruises are part of childhood and learning to deal with those is useful. However, a trip to get stitches is very traumatic for a child and I would like to protect all children from that.


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Posted by beth stein
a resident of another community
on May 27, 2007 at 9:32 pm

As an elementary physical education teacher (I taught 25 sections of PE at the elmentary level last week), I observed two kids "stub" their toes, about 8 children who could not participate in Physical Education, and one Bee sting to a second grader (who had never experienced a bee sting before so needed to be observed in order to determine whether an alergic reaction would occur). As an elementary physical education instructor, I know that it is much more safe, and kids have much more fun when they come to school with close toed shoes and not flip flops. There are some activities in which kids engage (both in class and out) where proper footewear is for their safety. As a teacher, I feel as though I am between a rock and a hard place. Kids wear flip flops, sandals, and/or heels (at the elementary level) and all of a sudden I have four or five kids per class who can not participate. I am not willing to put the kids' health and safety at risk (much less my credential) to risk injuries ineherant with inappropriate footwear.

Let's consider the general class mielieux; there could be bees, dog doo, chopped up aluminum cans (from the lawn mower), the random though rare needle, glass, rock, etc,. What about when kids move desks, chairs and other types of classroom furniture? I have seen kids drop desks on toes etc. (Believe me, I feel their pain when they are crying from that kind of pain).

My concern is the "freedom" of choice issue, vs. student safety and teacher liability. Perhaps, parents who insist students have the freedom to wear whatever footeware they desire should sign waivers that take teachers off the hook so that those teacher are not liable for injuries, alergies or other incidents that occur due to improper foot ware.

I find it painful to accompany a student through the pain of bullying, much less physical pain that can occur from improper footware. I would love to see a state law that specified the proper foot wear for students who come to school. (There is a state law that says students MUST wear shoes at school). My question: Are flip flops "shoes"?
V/r
Beth Stein


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Posted by JLS Parent
a resident of JLS Middle School
on May 27, 2007 at 9:59 pm

Ms Stein (Beth)

Welcome back.

And thanks for your comments, for which I heartily agree.


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Posted by JLS student
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 16, 2008 at 4:55 pm

If they stub a TOE OR SOMETHING, ITS NO BIG DEAL. It's not gonna kill them. They shouldn't stop the bike with their feet. Kids aren't stupid enough to put their feet in front of a wheel, so it shouldn't be a problem.


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