is towed as a passenger by a bicycle, must wear a safety helmet (for more about bicycle helmets, see the Getting Kids to Wear Helmets article in this issue of the Safe Routes Scoop). In addition, a 2002 Tort Liability Opinion states that if students in New Jersey bicycle to school, school administrators should have a policy about helmet use. A school’s code of conduct needs to reinforce helmet use and compliance with the law. By adopting a bicycle policy that requires helmet use, schools have the opportunity to help keep students safe and encourage compliance with the state bicycle helmet law.
Dealing with Barrier Policies
Sometimes schools with no policy can be just as much a barrier as schools that have policies that ban bicycling. When the content or even existence of a policy is unclear, everyone – principals, teachers, parents and students - can make assumptions that lead to poor decisions. If you have students that walk and bike to school, you need a policy that explains procedures and expectations and you need to communicate that policy to everyone in the school community.
A lack of an official policy on walking and biking is bad, but a bad policy is worse than having none at all. According to Sara Zimmerman, a lawyer from the National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity, it is not clear that schools or boards of education even