South Bay School District To Revisit Bike Ban Policy

District Officials Say Students Not Allowed To Ride Bikes To, From School For Safety Reasons

Millions of school children ride their bikes to school every day, but not in the South Bay Union School District, which consists of 12 elementary and middle schools in the Imperial Beach area.

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Students are not allowed to ride their bikes to school for safety reasons. It is the only school district in San Diego County that does not allow it. (Click here to read the South Bay Union School District's policy on bike riding that was outlined at a April 12, 2012, board meeting)

A new push by parents may get the policy reversed.

Antonio Ramirez's son attends Bayside Elementary. Ramirez -- who works for Walk San Diego, a group that promotes walking and biking to work and school -- said he was surprised to learn about the ban.

According to South Bay Union School Superintendent Dr. Carol Parish, the rule has always been on the books for safety reasons. It was last reviewed by the Board of Trustees in 2009 and again in February.

"Based on advice from the Sheriff's Department and our deep concern for student safety, we didn't change the policy," said Parish during a phone interview with 10News.

Parents like Ramirez want them to look again. They cite traffic studies that show cities with strong bike safety programs have 75 percent fewer bike-related fatalities than communities without those programs. Ramirez said it starts with education for students, parents and motorists. (To read a study on which California cities are "bike-friendly," click here)

He also argued that biking to school will make students more alert and improve their grades.

"Oxygen starts getting to their body, into their system," said Ramirez. "They get to school more prepared. If they have just been driven to school, basically what happens is they're half-asleep, half-awake."

The South Bay Union School District Board agreed to revisit the policy once again. The next board meeting is not until later this week.

"We want to be committed to the health and well-being of our kids," said Parish.

View a map of the schools that are part of the South Bay Union School District here

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