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#1
Old 05-26-2011, 07:48 AM
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Is this parent over-protective?

We got a letter in the mailbox today, apparently sent to everyone on our street. We live on a fairly narrow, but busy suburban street, with a shopping centre one block away, and a primary school two blocks away. The letter asked all drivers to please be careful coming out of their drive-ways. The letter writer's 10 year old son had been cycling home from school along the footpath (Children under 12 are allowed to ride on the footpath and he would be crazy to cycle on the road, given how busy and narrow it is.), and hit/ been hit by a car coming out of its driveway. Luckily, the boy was not hurt beyond a few bruises. The letter said he rolled over the bonnet of the car, so I wonder if he hit the car, and went forward over the handle-bars of the bike onto the bonnet, but I don't actually know what happened.

God knows, I am happy the boy is OK, and I don't want to hit a kid when I'm coming out of my driveway. There are are kids much younger than 10 using the footpath, so it does behoove us drivers to be careful. But I was a bit put off by the letter, all the same. Did the parents tell their kid to be careful of driveways, I wonder, or do they just expect everyone else to dodge their kid? Isn't 10 years old old enough to take some responsibility for looking out for cars? I don't expect a 4 year old on the footpath to even consider the possibility of a car coming out of a driveway, but a 10 year old seems a little different to me. I thought it was a weird over-reaction to send letters to everyone in the street telling them to be more careful. But maybe I am the one over-reacting.
#2
Old 05-26-2011, 07:52 AM
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I don't think it's so overprotective. A really overprotective parent probably wouldn't have let their kid bike home alone. Plus, having your kid get hit by a car is a pretty horrifying thing to have happen. I can see why they'd want to make sure that didn't happen to anyone else.
#3
Old 05-26-2011, 08:05 AM
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If I were that parent I'd be upset enough to write that letter. Sure, a 10-year-old should be careful, but the driver was still responsible.
#4
Old 05-26-2011, 08:28 AM
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It doesn't seem like a horrible thing to use a near tragedy to remind people to be aware of the neighborhood kids. I'm guilty of forgetting to be extra careful on neighborhood streets (although I seem more likely to pull out of my driveway when the joggers are going by).

And I'm sure the parents told their kid to be careful of cars. Cars and kids are a belt and suspenders thing - you can't have kids unaware of cars, but you can't have cars unaware of kids.
#5
Old 05-26-2011, 08:39 AM
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Fair enough really - bit OTT perhaps but bottom line is everyone who reads that letter is likely to take more care pulling out.
Not sure how big your drives are, but if there's no space to turn around it's good to remind people to reverse in and drive out. Reversing out is obviously not recommended, particularly if kids are playing.
#6
Old 05-26-2011, 08:41 AM
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No, it's not overprotective at all. It's just a reminder, not an accusation. This is no different than when my apartment building sends us the summer letter about rules regarding kids at the pool.

Relax.
#7
Old 05-26-2011, 08:51 AM
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If the letter had been sent out because a driver had encroached within 10 feet before stopping, that would be overprotective. A letter after an actual incident like that seems pretty reasonable, although I would hope the kid would get a lecture too.
#8
Old 05-26-2011, 09:02 AM
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She sent a letter instead of a lawsuit? How refreshing. Must not be in America. (Also, we don't have bonnets over here).
#9
Old 05-26-2011, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weedy View Post
Did the parents tell their kid to be careful of driveways, I wonder, or do they just expect everyone else to dodge their kid? Isn't 10 years old old enough to take some responsibility for looking out for cars?
Seems very likely to me that the parents have told their kid to be careful of driveways. And yes, 10 is old enough to take some responsibility for looking out for cars. Having a driver's license means you're old enough to take some responsibility for looking out for pedestrians and cyclists, too. Not knowing the details, it's impossible to say who's at fault, but I don't think a letter such as you describe is out of line.

Last edited by MsWhich; 05-26-2011 at 09:17 AM.
#10
Old 05-26-2011, 09:18 AM
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Jesus, the kid got hit by a car! Cut the parents some slack. Sure, a 10 YO should have some sense of responsibility. You just go right on hoping for that. They get distracted, or whatever, and it is incumbent on the supposedly mature adults to keep an eye out.

It's even overprotective now to send out a polite letter after your kid got hit by a car. Goodness gracious. And yes, I think you are totally overreacting! Imagine if it was your kid.
#11
Old 05-26-2011, 09:31 AM
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I think it's kind of a refreshing reaction to a lot of other things she could have done. She could have demanded the local police go door-to-door to warn neighbors. She could have demanded the town put up warning signs.
I for one would have appreciated a personal letter like that. If I'm not used to seeing kids on my street I'd for sure pay a bit more attention when pulling out in the future. And I was asked nicely to, not threatened, which goes a long way.
#12
Old 05-26-2011, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Anaamika View Post
Jesus, the kid got hit by a car! Cut the parents some slack. Sure, a 10 YO should have some sense of responsibility. You just go right on hoping for that. They get distracted, or whatever, and it is incumbent on the supposedly mature adults to keep an eye out.
Maybe I'm just not reading enough in detail, but I don't see it stated as fact that the kid did get hit by the car. For all I can tell, the car was stopped at the end of the driveway, and the kid ran into it.

Just a case where making any blanket statement over insufficient facts is just foolishness.
#13
Old 05-26-2011, 09:43 AM
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I don't see how it's any different from a letter that said "A few cars have been broken into lately on our street. Please keep an eye out for any suspicious activity."

There was an accident. A child was hurt. Fortunately it wasn't serious. Reminding everyone to be conscious of bicycle traffic seems like a reasonable response.
#14
Old 05-26-2011, 10:00 AM
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There is something wrong with those parents. It was their responsibility to teach their child to ride a bike responsibily. It was their responsibility to make sure he was prepared for people pulling out of driveways in cars. It doesn't even sound like he was hit by a car, but that he ran into it. Either way, these parents aren't admitting to their own failiure and trying to blame the problem on others. Their actions are in no way protecting their child. Drivers should already know that they have to look out for pedestrians and pedallers as they pull out of a driveway. The letter isn't going to have any affect on those who don't, and I would guess at the same time they are reinforcing in the child the idea that someone else was responsible for his failure to be careful.
#15
Old 05-26-2011, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Khendrask View Post
Maybe I'm just not reading enough in detail, but I don't see it stated as fact that the kid did get hit by the car. For all I can tell, the car was stopped at the end of the driveway, and the kid ran into it.
I thought the kid ran into the car. The car would have to be pretty far out for the kid to go flying onto or over the hood.
#16
Old 05-26-2011, 10:47 AM
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The OP doesn't say that the driver was backing out, just pulling out. Imagine the driver pulling forward towards the street, running late for something and going too fast, comes past a hedge and sees the kid on a bike. Slams on the brakes but it's too late, the kid can't stop in time and tumbles over the hood. If he'd been 5 feet faster he might have been hit by the front of the car, if he was 5 feet slower he might have stopped in time. 10 year olds aren't keen on running into cars, and they're usually pretty good at riding bikes. I don't see any sense in blaming the kid here.

Last edited by steronz; 05-26-2011 at 10:47 AM.
#17
Old 05-26-2011, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by steronz View Post
The OP doesn't say that the driver was backing out, just pulling out. Imagine the driver pulling forward towards the street, running late for something and going too fast, comes past a hedge and sees the kid on a bike. Slams on the brakes but it's too late, the kid can't stop in time and tumbles over the hood. If he'd been 5 feet faster he might have been hit by the front of the car, if he was 5 feet slower he might have stopped in time. 10 year olds aren't keen on running into cars, and they're usually pretty good at riding bikes. I don't see any sense in blaming the kid here.
This isn't about blaming the kid. Unless the kid ran into the car while the driver was pulling out carefully, the driver of the car is at fault. The question is if these parents are acting reasonably.
#18
Old 05-26-2011, 11:05 AM
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In a time when every house had a person home all day, this news would have spread over the backyard fences through the neighborhood without need for a letter, and people would have internalized the message of "Bob down the street hit little Timmy on his bike - I guess I should be sure to watch out for that, too." Unless people in your neighborhood normally pass this kind of information on to one another daily, I think a letter is just substituting for this process.
#19
Old 05-26-2011, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
This isn't about blaming the kid. Unless the kid ran into the car while the driver was pulling out carefully, the driver of the car is at fault. The question is if these parents are acting reasonably.
I don't follow. You said the kid was responsible for "failing to be careful." You also said the parents are responsible because they failed to "teach their child to ride a bike responsibily." You've blamed everyone but the driver. All I'm saying is, it's very likely the driver was at fault, and it's also very likely the the kid and his parents are completely blameless.
#20
Old 05-26-2011, 11:06 AM
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The way the parents sent the message to everyone suggests a healthy attitude to me: "Hey. This was an accident. It could have happened to anyone, no one is the bad guy, here's a reminder to be more careful"

And frankly, "fault" doesn't matter much. I can't imagine thinking "well, the kid should have been more careful" would really be much comfort if the accident ended in tragedy. I'd never get over being part of something like that, even if the kid was wearing all black at midnight on a black bike and I had looked three times and honked my horn just in case.
#21
Old 05-26-2011, 11:10 AM
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I think it was a pretty considerate move on their part. I'd be mortified if that happened to one of my kids, and it'd prompt me to take measures to warn others. Also, I hit a pedestrian back in college, I looked both ways and apparently missed her, pulled out and she went flying forward. It terrified me (and her), and to this day, I have always been hyper-vigilant about making sure nobody is in my path when pulling out/backing up. Fear will do that to you. You don't forget things that scared the crap out of you.
#22
Old 05-26-2011, 11:23 AM
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I often need to be reminded not to drive over people with my car.
#23
Old 05-26-2011, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by steronz View Post
I don't follow. You said the kid was responsible for "failing to be careful." You also said the parents are responsible because they failed to "teach their child to ride a bike responsibily." You've blamed everyone but the driver. All I'm saying is, it's very likely the driver was at fault, and it's also very likely the the kid and his parents are completely blameless.
Where did I say the kid was responsible? I mentioned that the OP made it sound as if he was. I have no idea. But the idea of this letter is a strong indication of misplaced priorities on the part of the parents. All parents, all the time, must take extra care for the safety of their children. Parents who are asking others to take extra care for their own children are eschewing their own responsibility. If the street or pathway was dangerous for the child to ride on, his parents are the ones responsible for allowing him to be endangered. If the child ran into the car, the parents are also responsible. If the car driver was actually at fault, that's the person who should have received a letter. No one else was involved.
#24
Old 05-26-2011, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
There is something wrong with those parents.
Sending out the letter doesn't mean they didn't also talk to the child about being safe (before the accident and after). They are probably just covering all the bases. I agree completely that the parents shouldn't make everyone else responsible for keeping their child safe. However, they also can't make the child solely responsible for his own safety. Most likely they talked to their own child and sent out a letter.

I would hardly conclude that there was something "wrong" with those parents.
#25
Old 05-26-2011, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen View Post
Sending out the letter doesn't mean they didn't also talk to the child about being safe (before the accident and after). They are probably just covering all the bases. I agree completely that the parents shouldn't make everyone else responsible for keeping their child safe. However, they also can't make the child solely responsible for his own safety. Most likely they talked to their own child and sent out a letter.

I would hardly conclude that there was something "wrong" with those parents.
That's only because you're being reasonable and not over-generalizing. Or you don't recognize this is a common symptom of people who want to shift their own blame to someone else. You choose.
#26
Old 05-26-2011, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
The way the parents sent the message to everyone suggests a healthy attitude to me: "Hey. This was an accident. It could have happened to anyone, no one is the bad guy, here's a reminder to be more careful"
It would be a healthy attitude if they had included a section asking people to remind their children to slow down and look before they pedaled across driveways.
#27
Old 05-26-2011, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weedy View Post
Did the parents tell their kid to be careful of driveways, I wonder, or do they just expect everyone else to dodge their kid?
The word you are looking for is "yield". As in, when you are crossing a sidewalk to enter or leave your driveway, you should stop before the sidewalk and yield to any pedestrians/cyclists on the sidewalk.

For example, Nebraska
Quote:
Vehicle entering roadway from private road or driveway; yield right-of-way.

(a)

The driver of a vehicle emerging from an alley, driveway, private road or building shall stop such vehicle immediately before driving onto a sidewalk and shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian approaching on any sidewalk. Before entering the highway, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on such highway.

(b)

The driver of a vehicle entering an alley, building, private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian approaching on any sidewalk.
I'd bet that your state has a similar law.

Note, even though the kid has the right of way, he should be careful to not get his ass run over by someone violating that right of way.
#28
Old 05-26-2011, 02:22 PM
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I don’t think it was particularly overprotective. Sometimes people forget there are kids around, and I can see being a little shaken over the kid having gotten hit by a car. If I were the parent in question, I might do the same thing, but only after drilling my kind on the importance of watching out for cars while on a bike.

It’s definitely up to the kid to keep a lookout for cars coming out of driveways (and the parents to remind their children), wherever they’re riding, but part of driving means that you watch out for kids, adults, dogs – whatever – to avoid hitting them.

Our homeowner’s association sends somewhat similar letters all the time – notifies people if there have been break-ins, if there will be significant disruptions in the neighborhood due to construction, when they’ll be handing out pool passes, etc. I wouldn’t be offended in the slightest if a neighbor decided to avoid the middle man.

Last edited by overlyverbose; 05-26-2011 at 02:23 PM.
#29
Old 05-26-2011, 03:06 PM
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Yes, it's overprotective for a parent whose kid had a collision with a car pulling out of a driveway to remind neighbors to watch out for kids. Plus it's pushy and presumptuous. It's just like accusing you, personally, of being a neglectful driver, when it wasn't even you who hit the kid! The nerve!

Yes, I'm being facetious.
#30
Old 05-26-2011, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Khendrask View Post
Maybe I'm just not reading enough in detail, but I don't see it stated as fact that the kid did get hit by the car. For all I can tell, the car was stopped at the end of the driveway, and the kid ran into it.

Just a case where making any blanket statement over insufficient facts is just foolishness.
Sorry, my bad. I still don't think it's overprotective to put a letter in the mailbox, though.
#31
Old 05-26-2011, 03:36 PM
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Eh, as long as the tone wasn't too spanky, I don't see a problem.
#32
Old 05-26-2011, 03:50 PM
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We have a regular problem with kids in our neighborhood. All ages, from ankle biters to Hitler youth. They play in the street and sidewalks and not only do not move if you wish to pass, but refuse to move. Driving down the street the kids will actually stop playing the street and refuse to move.

Several times driving down the street we've had to stop the vehicle, put it in park and turn off the engine, while a little girl (not more than four years old) proceeds to ride her bike at us from 150 feet away, head down and looking only at the ground immediately in front of her, and totally oblivious there could be anyone else, bird, dog, stick, pebble, kid, bicycle, vehicle, etc., within 1,000 miles of her. She finally realizes she is about to hit something when she's ten feet in front of us. This happened too many times to count. Nope, she has no known mental/intellectual disabilities. She's like her older siblings and parents; totally self-absorbed the world must revolve/wait for them.

We turn off the engine because if she hits us we want to make sure to everyone she hit us and not the other way around. Despite repeated interventions, including by the police, the parents think their kids are cherubs and it's everyone else's fault if there is a problem.

Oh, yeah. There is a school and huge empty playground that abuts their backyards. These kids deliberately play in the street.

I have no problem if a parent wishes to protect their child. We seem not to have that kind of parent where we live.
#33
Old 05-26-2011, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Duckster View Post
Oh, yeah. There is a school and huge empty playground that abuts their backyards. These kids deliberately play in the street.
.
This is one thing that drives me fucking batshit. I live in a neighborhood of about....ten or so streets, in a sort of squarish shape. In the bottom of the square, there is a small playground that is ETERNALLY abandoned. It has the swingset, and some open ground, and a few other things. Fucking kids play in the street, right in front of their house, and I am convinced it's because the parents don't want their kids to go even 5-6 blocks over to the playground. Even 10 YO kids!

And while I'm at it nothing makes me more angry than parents who install their stupid basketball hoops right at the edge of their driveway, IN THE STREET. Darwin awards? Especially when you are the second or third house from the main street, which is a 40 mph road! People turn and they are not fully slowed down yet and your damn little rugrats are playing right there in the middle of the street. Is this smart? Is this prudent? Whatever happened to installing the hoop over the garage door?

/rant
#34
Old 05-26-2011, 04:42 PM
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Nope, not over protective.
#35
Old 05-26-2011, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by steronz View Post
She sent a letter instead of a lawsuit? How refreshing. Must not be in America. (Also, we don't have bonnets over here).
This.

In America, when a kid on a bike gets hit by an SUV going 40 heading to the country club and the SUV driver is a lawyer, the lawyer tries to sue the child for damages to his car.

Last edited by lindsaybluth; 05-26-2011 at 09:53 PM.
#36
Old 05-27-2011, 12:30 AM
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I don't see anything wrong with it. Sounds like she could have sent out a letter calling out and naming the person who was driving and she didn't. She just reminded everyone to be careful.
#37
Old 05-27-2011, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by lindsaybluth View Post
This.

In America, when a kid on a bike gets hit by an SUV going 40 heading to the country club and the SUV driver is a lawyer, the lawyer tries to sue the child for damages to his car.
Uh, yeah. There's a story like that on the news everyday. Because lawyers don't realize that no such law suit could be won. Or is this some variation of the 'In Soviet Union car sues you!' gag?
#38
Old 05-27-2011, 01:41 AM
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I'd say it's quite rational and sensible. To assume from the letter that she didn't talk to her kid is a little bit of an overreaction itself.
#39
Old 05-27-2011, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Uh, yeah. There's a story like that on the news everyday. Because lawyers don't realize that no such law suit could be won. Or is this some variation of the 'In Soviet Union car sues you!' gag?
Uh, no. This really happened to my family 5 years ago. I've mentioned it a few times before on the board.
#40
Old 05-27-2011, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by lindsaybluth View Post
This.

In America, when a kid on a bike gets hit by an SUV going 40 heading to the country club and the SUV driver is a lawyer, the lawyer tries to sue the child for damages to his car.
Lawyers don't drive SUV's.
#41
Old 05-27-2011, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by RaftPeople View Post
Lawyers don't drive SUV's.
. . . unless they're luxury SUV's
#42
Old 05-27-2011, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by lindsaybluth View Post
Uh, no. This really happened to my family 5 years ago. I've mentioned it a few times before on the board.
I find your description of the event to be incredible, or at best, if true, anomalous and not a reflection of the way things are in America. To be clear, I hate lawyers, and people who belong to country clubs, so the individual described in the story has no bearing on my objections.
#43
Old 05-28-2011, 08:11 AM
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If the mother is so concerned how about she picks him up from school instead of letting him ride back ALONE. How about she waits until he is a little older to let him ride a bike alone to and from school.
Most people aren't going to pay attention to the letter. She's not overprotective she's not protective enough.
#44
Old 05-28-2011, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by classyladyhp View Post
If the mother is so concerned how about she picks him up from school instead of letting him ride back ALONE. How about she waits until he is a little older to let him ride a bike alone to and from school.
Most people aren't going to pay attention to the letter. She's not overprotective she's not protective enough.
I doubt she's worried about her particular kid: I suspect that her particular kid is going to be very very aware of the dangers of cars backing out from now on. He's probably the safest kid on the street.

I think the letter is about other people's kids, and about how easily this particular accident can occur. And that's compassionate and admirable.
#45
Old 05-28-2011, 11:39 AM
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She may be trying to protect, not only her child or even all the children, but also the drivers. I know I would have a fit if I hit a kid with my car, no matter whether it was my fault or not. Couldn't she be being public spirited and not wanting any of the adults on the street to have to go through that - especially if she saw how upset the person who did hit her kid was? It seems harsh to jump straight to thinking she's an entitled bitch who thinks her child can do no wrong.
#46
Old 05-28-2011, 10:13 PM
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I've watched as a driver pulled out in front of my kid and she was unable to stop in time and hit the car. I was following behind my kid and stopped, she tried her best, both brakes on and skidded into the car. The woman (who I could see clearly) didn't even look around as she reversed out of her driveway at speed, she stopped on the footpath to look for traffic on the road. I've also encountered this often while walking to work, but walking means I have been able to stop / step back quick enough to avoid injury.

The woman who caused the accident with my kid had been repeatedly asked to slow down ( according to her front neighbours who came out and screamed at everyone).

It's likely that a similar thing happened to the kid in the OP. I don't see any disconnect between the kid going over the bonnet & the driver being at fault.

I've also hit a kid on a bike, reversing out of my own driveway. I stopped short of the footpath and checked for pedestrians, saw a cyclist go past behind be and stop on the other side. Because I was watching her, I didn't see her toddler follow her on his tricycle and stop behind my car. I checked both ways again, couldn't see anything and crunch.

There was no injury as I just begun rolling back and stopped immediately when I heard the noise, but we all had a huge scare.

I hope the kid's learned not to stop behind cars with their engines running, but now I always park facing out so I have better visibility.

I don't think the OP parents were overreacting at all.
#47
Old 05-29-2011, 12:01 AM
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Someone in the thread used the word 'entitled' which is a much better word for what my reaction was. I think I felt this way because I don't let my kids bike on this footpath because I think it's too dangerous. A lot of the houses have narrow driveways with fences or hedges on the property line and the drivers really cannot see down the footpath until they are past the fence. Problem for bikes as they come fast, and can't stop instantly the way a pedestrian can. If other parents are willing for their kids to bike there, then that's fine, but it seemed kinda dumb, or 'entitled', to complain about the danger.

The other thing I found weird is sending the letter to the entire street. I would just never do that. Interesting that many people seemed to think that was reasonable, and something they might do. So that's probably just me.
#48
Old 05-29-2011, 12:14 AM
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Some of the young drivers in my residential neighborhood sometimes drive like they are drag racing. I'm the crotchety old guy who walks over to where they are parked and asks them how they would feel about running down their neighbor's 5 year old or best friend's baby sister. Little effect.
#49
Old 05-29-2011, 12:47 AM
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It just sounds sensible to me. You live in a district where kids under 12 are allowed to cycle on the footpath, but if not many kids actually do it, you might not be as accustomed to it as you should be. So it's a pretty tame reminder.

Driveways are a hazard for cyclists in general. Driveways often have impeded views (hedges, walls) which mean that oncoming traffic can't easily see what's coming out, so the driver should take extra care when emerging from the driveway, but, I don't know why exactly - maybe it's coming from private land onto public, that mental adjustment - drivers emerging from driveways don't react quite as they would if they were pulling out from a side-street.

I was once cycling uphill (on the road) with my four-year-old in a seat on the back of my bike and a car pulled out from a driveway. Said driveway was walled on one side (impeding my view) and the car pulled out at the normal driving speed for that stretch of road at that time of day - about 15mph.

I had to brake; my bumper hit the car - and trust me, with a four-year-old on the back, going uphill, facing a driveway I knew was a hazard, I was not going fast - and we weren't hit but toppled backwards slowly, at one point completely vertical. The driver carried on - I don't think they noticed. Fortunately the cars coming up the road stopped without running us over. (We were fine. My daughter wanted to re-enact it later ).
#50
Old 05-29-2011, 05:22 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 9,191
It is a little busy-bodyish, but I wouldn't call it overprotective.

Let's be honest though, legal or not, riding your bike on a footpath isn't a good idea. Drivers aren't expecting it, and it is just asking for problems.
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