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Read police report, hear more from mom in Tennessee child biking case

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 2nd, 2011 at 11:46 am

Police report.
- Download PDF -

There have been some developments in the story from Elizabethton, Tennessee I shared yesterday. The local newspaper has published a story that makes it appear as though the incident has been smoothed over. However, Teresa Tryon, the girl's mother, has been commenting here on BikePortland to share that the issue is far from resolved.

Ms. Tryon alleges that she is being "victimized" by the police and that their story has changed as the media attention around the case has grown.

I have since received a copy of the police report filed in the incident, which I'll share excerpts from below (download PDF of it here)

"At no time, did anyone tell her she could not ride her bike."
— Police Chief Matt Bailey

To briefly recap, on August 25th a 10-year girl biking home from school was stopped and driven home by a police officer because he felt it was unsafe for her to be doing so. The officer then spoke with Ms. Tryon and ended up referring the case to Child Protective Services. (If you're interested, here's a Google Map of the intersection where the girl was stopped)

"I informed Ms. Tryon that I believed the child should not be riding her bicycle to and from school unsupervised at her age."
— Officer who stopped the 5th grader, quoted from the official incident report

In a story published yesterday by the local Elizabethton Star, Police Chief Matt Bailey said the whole thing was a "misunderstanding." Bailey also said, "At no time, did anyone tell her she could not ride her bike."

However, in the police report, the officer who stopped the young girl clearly states that he told Ms. Tryon that her daughter should not be riding her bike at all. Here's the excerpt from the report:

"In my opinion, this section of roadway is not a safe place for a child of her age to be riding unsupervised... I informed Ms. Tryon that I believed the child should not be riding her bicycle to and from school unsupervised at her age."

Location where girl was riding.

The Police Chief also claims to be working to find an alternate route for Ms. Tryon's daughter, however she says not only does an alternate route not exist, but that she is yet to hear from the police regarding the case.

A look at the location where the girl was riding shows that there are very few, if any, alternate routes she could have taken. It's also worth noting, that while the police say they observed several close calls while the girl was riding, the street she was riding on looks relatively calm. Ms. Tryon says the road has a generous shoulder.

I asked Ms. Tryon to share how she feels about the incident at this point:

"I am frustrated as can be that one officer's "judgment" has left me with an open CPS [Child Protective Services] case, drug me through the media with conflicting information from the police report I received regarding the issue; causing chaos and sadness to me and my children. My ultimate goal is to incorporate an SRTS [Safe Routes to School] program in this school, so that not only my daughter - but ALL children (and their parents) who attend this school can ride/walk to school with a certain peace of mind."

What strikes me about the police report and their quotes in the media is the classic, "It's all about the child's safety" mantra. That's all fine and good, but it seems they are focusing their effort on the wrong thing — the safety issue here is being caused by people driving cars, not by an experienced 5th-grader who is riding her bike legally on a public road.

— For more on this story, read the detailed comments on the Bike Walk Tennessee blog where it was initially reported.

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Comments
  • Andrew Holtz September 2, 2011 at 11:55 am

    True concern about child safety would include creating an environment where it is safe for every child to be physically active outdoors, including both play and transportation. There is a direct correlation between the amount of time spent in a car and rates of obesity.
    - Study: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0967070X11000515
    - Economist article: http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/06/obesity-and-driving

    That's the impending threat to today's children.

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  • 9watts September 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I love Ms. Tryon's point (in comments on the original story) about the presence of bike racks at her daughter's school--which does not extend past the 5th grade, the grade her daughter is in!

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • jeff September 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      couldn't possibly be for the adults who work there.

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    • q`Tzal September 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      Which means that the bike racks will be removed shortly from school grounds for "student safety".
      I'm under the impression that this has happened elsewhere in the USA, just can't find a news report now.

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  • Kristen September 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Point: in the article, the officer states that he observed the girl riding her bike to the left of both his car and a school bus. There is no mention made of where the car or school bus were, or the state of the school bus's warning lights.

    There is no mention of this incident in the official report; I would think something like this would warrant inclusion.

    Also, the article says that the officer observed the girl riding alongside the road and that a car approaching from behind had to swerve out of the way so as not to hit her. There is no mention of this in the official report.

    Actually, there is no mention of any specifics in this official report. It's not a very well written one, just by reading it there is no way anyone can tell what the girl did, or what other traffic did, that warranted this whole thing.

    Question: Why did the officer not include these highly specific incidents in his official report? One could say that if he had, his actions may make a little more sense. As it is, it sounds to me like the officer could be making up or exaggerating the incidents for the media in order to make himself look good, or reassure himself that he did the correct thing.

    Oh, and one more thing: In the articles, the Chief does a lot of of talking about what the officer saw. Was the Chief present at the time of the incidents?

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    • was carless September 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm

      None of that was in the original police report, so... can you say "they made it up after the fact to CYA?"

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    • wsbob September 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      Details and clarity of the police report have something to be desired. Check out the following excerpt from the bottom section of the report by Sargeant Joy Markland:

      "...I explained to him my concerns with regard to the area in which the 10 yr old child was driving...".

      So..'driving'? That's taking a little far, the idea that bikes are vehicles,. Simple error is more likely.

      Haven't yet had time to look closely at the google map view. Assuming the officer's comments about the child passing his police car and the bus, are on the level, what the child may have been doing is lane splitting. If I remember correctly, in some cities, lane splitting is legal, but that doesn't mean the practice is a safe one. Especially for a 10 year old girl on a bike.

      A number of people have reflected that if cars were having to stop abruptly for the girl on the bike, they must not have been paying attention to the road. They most likely were paying attention, which probably accounts for how they managed not to collide with the girl. View of a child on a bike, approaching an intersection alongside the left side of a bus, would likely be blocked to traffic on cross streets to the right of the bus, until the child actually began entering the intersection. Something like that is going to come as kind of a surprise to anyone driving a motor vehicle. An abrupt stop on their part would not be unusual.

      Ross Williams comments to this bikeportland story, are some of more well reasoned of both comments and reporting to both bikeportland stories about this incident:

      http://bikeportland.org/2011/09/02/read-police-report-hear-more-from-mom-in-tennessee-child-biking-case-58504#comment-1960538

      http://bikeportland.org/2011/09/02/read-police-report-hear-more-from-mom-in-tennessee-child-biking-case-58504#comment-1960564

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    • Natty September 3, 2011 at 11:37 am

      Kristen,

      When Jonathan posted the link to the newspaper article, I had already been following the situation on another website and was {am still} wondering why the entire bit about passing the officer's cruiser and a {stopped?} school bus on the left did not appear in the filed incident report.

      While I suppose it is possible the office recalled the event {of the little girl passing his cruiser & the school bus} of the previous day after he filed his report, it is strange that he would offer it to the media, rather than file an addendum to his report.

      It smells like an effort to protect the image of the police by shifting attention and attributing blame to the family (predominately the mother).

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      • wsbob September 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm

        Natty
        Kristen,
        When Jonathan posted the link to the newspaper article, I had already been following the situation on another website and was {am still} wondering why the entire bit about passing the officer's cruiser and a {stopped?} school bus on the left did not appear in the filed incident report.
        While I suppose it is possible the office recalled the event {of the little girl passing his cruiser & the school bus} of the previous day after he filed his report, it is strange that he would offer it to the media, rather than file an addendum to his report.
        It smells like an effort to protect the image of the police by shifting attention and attributing blame to the family (predominately the mother).
        Recommended 1

        The police report in question is not a thorough report. The police officer on patrol is not the person that released the police report to the media. The police department under the chief of police would most likely have been responsible for releasing the police report.

        It was the police chief in his interview with the Elizabethton Star that offered more specific details about the traffic situation from which the police officer on patrol happened to observe the 10yr old on the bike in traffic:

        "....Bailey said the officer had been following buses that have routes to South Hills Estates and Pine Ridge Circle to make sure that other motorists were following the safety laws and stopping when the bus was dropping off children.

        While stopped behind a school bus at the three-way stop at the intersection of Cedar Avenue, Watauga Avenue and Southside Road, the officer noticed a girl on a bicycle coming around his cruiser on the left and past the school bus on the left toward oncoming traffic. A car was making a turn from Watauga onto Cedar and had to make an abrupt stop to keep from striking the child. ..." Elizabethton Star

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  • Carter September 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Spin doctoring, not all that surprised keep us up to date.

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  • Ray September 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    So, she passed to the left of stopped traffic?
    If the bus had the STOP flag out, she could be cited.
    What would a motorist do? Uh, probably pass on the left after looking to see if it was clear.

    And approaching traffic would probably stop to let a passing vehicle return to the lane.
    People understand being stuck behind a bus.

    Given previous (hearsay) statements that she was NOT riding unsafely and not breaking the law, this seems to be a complete turnaround.

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    • was carless September 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      1) according to the original police report, there was no mention of the girl passing a school bus

      2) it is illegal to pass a school bus loading kids. They have those STOP signs (with flashing lights!) that pop out of the sides. Illegal for cars passing either direction on a non-separated road.

      Why would a police not give tickets to 3 people (girl, passing motorist, oncoming motorist) who all illegally passed a school bus while loading kids?

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  • Joe Rowe September 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Great follow up Jonathan. Awesome journalism and first hand interview. Many readers and the media declared this "resolved".

    This is an issue of police bully behavior and police bias. It sends a message to other parents to avoid bikes or face child custody battles and media bias.

    If we really care about kids getting to school in a safe manner let the dialog begin. This cop should talk to Mitch Greenlick aka "just starting a dialog".

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  • Ray September 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    She COULD ride her bike.
    She SHOULD not.
    These statements are in agreement.

    But if so, that police officer would officially state his opinion to Child Protective Services that her mother was allowing her (even encouraging her) to proceed in unsafe conditions.

    So, yeah, she COULD ride her bike to school.
    Until she was taken away from her mother.
    Apparently CPS does not have a problem with her riding to school. But they might.

    Who knows who at CPS, and who has more sway with CPS? A parent? A police officer?

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Joe Rowe September 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    School boards are broke, they buy cheaper land outside town when building new schools, this "drives" our society into a long distance car only system.

    Google: Why johnny can't walk to school

    or open PDF on link below.

    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B-_lkfRp66-0YjQyNzYxOWMtNjExNS00OWZlLWFhZjEtZDkwYTU2Yzc3Nzky&hl=en&authkey=CIWFvq8C

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  • Kristen September 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Reading through the Bike TN blog post comments, Bike TN spokesguy Bill Hobbs said he talked with the Chief for 20 minutes and asked, several times, if the child had broken the law/was the child breaking the law/what laws did the child break. The Chief responded in all instances that the child DID NOT BREAK ANY LAWS.

    So... where did this story come from about passing a school bus and the cop car on the left?

    Also: the headline of the new Elizabethton article says that the police recommended a new route. However, BikeMomTN says that they won't return her phone calls and that she has not heard from them regarding a new route or even a suggestion for a new route. Hm.

    I wish BikeMomTN could afford a lawyer, it sounds like she's going to need one at least to fend off CPS!! Ray Thomas, any recommendations??

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  • rayterrill September 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Jonathan, first of all, thanks for covering this story even though it isn't local. This kind of callous, prejudiced behavior by police against cyclists of any age can't be tolerated.

    The arguments the police department present are absolutely mindboggling to me. They continuously claim the incident revolves around the childs safety, but every quote about the incident witnessed by the officer clearly indicate unsafe operations perpetuated by the DRIVERS, not the cyclist.

    From the Elizabethton Star article Jonathan posted last night: "Bailey noted that there is no sidewalk in this area for her to ride on. As the girl came over the hill on her bicycle, a car came up from behind. The officer said it had to swerve to keep from coming in contact with the girl on the bike." Why was this driver not cited by the officer? Having to swerve to avoid the cyclist means either the driver was proceeding too quickly on that road to negotiate hazards, or they weren't paying attention.

    Today's posting of the police report is full of more absurdity. "I observed that vehicles had to slow and negotiate around the bicyclist." Really? It was my understanding from years of driving and cycling that this was what you're supposed to do when you use a roadway.

    I hope, given all the negative publicity thrust upon the Elizabethton PD, that this situation is resolved amicably for the Tryons. It's just asinine.

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  • Joe September 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Lets make the road safe for all and stop coming down on people tring to live a better life.

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  • esther c September 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Why no mention in the police report of the supposed incident when the child broke the law passing on the left?

    Why should the child get off the road because drivers in cars are driving too fast for the conditions. Shouldn't they be driving slower knowing that school buses are stopping etc. Why wasn't the driver ticketed for driving too close or something.

    Sounds like though there may be other problems with this family if you read the original article in the paper. Why was the girl kicked off the school bus in the first place. The mother says the family had been contacted by children's services in the past for sending her children to school in dirty clothes.

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  • Ross Williams September 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Its amazing how once people have seized on a narrative they can gloss over anything that contradicts it. According to the news story, here is what initially brought the situation to the officers attention:

    "While stopped behind a school bus at the three-way stop at the intersection of Cedar Avenue, Watauga Avenue and Southside Road, the officer noticed a girl on a bicycle coming around his cruiser on the left and past the school bus on the left toward oncoming traffic. A car was making a turn from Watauga onto Cedar and had to make an abrupt stop to keep from striking the child"

    That sounds like she was passing on the left riding in the traffic lane, against traffic. I am not sure by what stretch that would reflect someone exercising good judgment. So the mother may be overestimating her daughters maturity.

    On the other hand, that isn't in the police report. And its obvious the police are in @ss-covering mode trying to create a narrative that doesn't force them to admit the officer was wrong

    That said, its one thing to say it SHOULD be safe for her to ride, its another to say that it actually was. It appears from the officers alarm that she was slowing traffic, that cyclists are not that common on the streets in Elizabethton.

    BTW, that has nothing to do with the south. Rural communities are often extremely auto-dependent and kids are driven everywhere, just like the suburbs. This officer was likely reflecting the community norms where kids (and most adults) ride their bikes on sidewalks and stay out of the street.

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    • was carless September 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      Because they made it up after there was a media news-frenzy/s.storm.

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    • Natty September 3, 2011 at 11:50 am

      Ross,

      I agree, if the event occurred as per your read of the statement, it would be an error in judgement by the young lady, quite possibly illegal, and probably not safe. For certain, this would have been a more precarious situation than when the girl was stopped an driven home.

      This reporting of this incident in the media brings two questions to mind:
      1) Why did the office not stop the girl at that time she passed the school bus; and
      2) Why was the event not included in the police incident report.

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  • meh September 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    http://www.starhq.com/news/html/news/articles/articles.asp?day=Thursday&article=nw-bikegirl.html

    This article states that the police were told by the mother that CPS was involved before this incident, and that incident also involved the riding to school . Had this information not been given to the police the CPS most likely would not have been called.

    It also states that the girl was passed the police cruiser and a school bus on the left at an intersection.

    I'm 60/40 on this one. Sounds like there was a need to get the riders attention about unsafe actions taken on the road. Was it handled as well as it could be, maybe not.

    But there's also a lot of the story regarding the banishment from the bus that isn't being told.

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    • Kristen September 6, 2011 at 8:43 am

      The article talks about specific incidents that prompted the officer to detain the girl; why are none of these incidents in the police report?

      One would think that passing stopped vehicles on the left, including a stopped school bus, would warrant inclusion in an official police report.

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      • wsbob September 6, 2011 at 10:27 am

        Kristen
        The article talks about specific incidents that prompted the officer to detain the girl; why are none of these incidents in the police report?
        One would think that passing stopped vehicles on the left, including a stopped school bus, would warrant inclusion in an official police report.
        Recommended 0

        I think perhaps the reason those details aren't in the police report, is that the police report simply wasn't very thoroughly written. If someone interviewing the chief were to ask him about this, (hint-hint ...judging from comments to weblogs other than this one, the chief seems to have been fairly free in answering questions from reporters and journalists, about this incident.) he might have some thoughts to offer on this.

        At any rate, his comments in the Elizabethton Star interview indicate that he apparently asked the officers that wrote up the report, for more specific information about what they saw on the 25th and 26th.

        Since the girl's route on the bike was to and from school, before and after the school day, it doesn't seem at all unlikely that there would have been a bus or buses along the route as she rode.

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  • Ross Williams September 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Meh -

    The police report says she told him about CPS being involved only AFTER he had told her he was referring the situation to CPS. That's what I mean about the police being in @ss-covering mode.

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  • Ross Williams September 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    "Actually, there is no mention of any specifics in this official report."

    Probably because the officer didn't really think it was that big a deal. He was filling out a perfunctory report because he is required to. When it became a big deal, they started filling in the facts - or at least some version of it.

    And lets be clear, if a motor vehicle pulled around a police car and school bus stopped at a stop sign, the police would pull it over. And yes, a car making a left hand turn would stop if there was a car coming at them, just as they did for her.

    Again, this is holding to the narrative despite facts that contradict it.

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  • Donna September 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Ray
    So, she passed to the left of stopped traffic?
    If the bus had the STOP flag out, she could be cited.
    What would a motorist do? Uh, probably pass on the left after looking to see if it was clear.
    And approaching traffic would probably stop to let a passing vehicle return to the lane.
    People understand being stuck behind a bus.
    Given previous (hearsay) statements that she was NOT riding unsafely and not breaking the law, this seems to be a complete turnaround.
    Recommended 0

    Let's assume that she did break a traffic law; is that enough to warrant banning her from riding in the street and prompting a CPS investigation of her mother?

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  • Spiffy September 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    this town doesn't have a clear satellite map zoom so I can't tell what traffic controls are in place at the intersections...

    but since no laws were broken I'm assuming the girl passed the bus and cop to make a left while they were making a right... and that the oncoming car stopped suddenly for her because they weren't paying attention...

    from what little detail I can see of the roads it looks like ideal bicycling in small calm neighborhoods...

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    • Machu Picchu September 5, 2011 at 11:01 am

      It actually sounds more like they all were waiting to take their turns at an intersection, and she decided to go around everyone at her own pace. Because she isn't well enough educated to know better. And in this town, it sounds like there's no one well enough educated to educate anyone else. What's interesting to me is that the initial report of the officer to the mom was that the conditions weren't safe for the girl to ride, but now it's about what she was doing wrong.

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      • wsbob September 5, 2011 at 12:09 pm

        "It actually sounds more like they all were waiting to take their turns at an intersection, and she decided to go around everyone at her own pace. ..." Machu Picchu

        The Elizabethton Star article/interview reports:

        "...Bailey said the officer had been following buses that have routes to South Hills Estates and Pine Ridge Circle to make sure that other motorists were following the safety laws and stopping when the bus was dropping off children.

        While stopped behind a school bus at the three-way stop at the intersection of Cedar Avenue, Watauga Avenue and Southside Road, the officer noticed a girl on a bicycle coming around his cruiser on the left and past the school bus on the left toward oncoming traffic. A car was making a turn from Watauga onto Cedar and had to make an abrupt stop to keep from striking the child. ..." The Elizabethton Star

        It's not clear from that report whether the bus and patrol car were occupying the lane, or whether they were off to the side of the lane, or even what the exact road configuration was ( two lane road, multi-lane road, etc.). Does seem certain though, that the 10yr old on the bike passed the car and bike on the left, meaning road users to the right of the those vehicles would not have been able to see the kid until she was past the front of the bus.

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  • Ross Williams September 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    "Let's assume that she did break a traffic law; is that enough to warrant banning her from riding in the street and prompting a CPS investigation of her mother?"

    Lets assume the car had been unable to stop and had hit her, would that indicate it was unsafe for her to ride her bike to school?

    The real problem here is that the "she said, he said" discussion is unproductive. The police officer thinks the street is unsafe. Rather than arguing with him about it, the question should be what can they do to make it safe or at least safer.

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  • Mike September 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    I am amazed how everyone here seems to have the answers, especially Sir Jonathan. Why shouldn't the police check on the girl? If they didn't and she got hit what do you think would happen? Lawsuit perhaps! What's the big deal here? Do any of you know the whole situation? Sometimes I think most commenters(including Jonathan) aren't capable of stepping back and looking at both sides of the issue.

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    • Joe Rowe September 2, 2011 at 8:36 pm

      The big deal is often hidden unless you've been the target of being a target.

      I had a friend from Libera tell stories about how nobody would bike. Charles Talor (google him) would target just a few bikes out of a million people. It send a message to the millions to never bike.

      How was this done in reality? Charles taylor would cut off the hands of people who voted. Then he would have newspapers run the story.

      If you look at the math, the cops who care about kids should be targeting the parents who use cars.

      I hope you get the "deal" here. Biased cops target just a few parents to "send a message".

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    • Margaret September 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you. About six months ago my teenage cousin was hit and killed while walking along the shoulder of an interstate at midnight. He was drunk, but the driver didn't turn himself in for days. I have no idea whose fault it really was, but I do know is that EVERYONE UNDER THE SUN had an opinion about what "really" happened and everyone felt comfortable stating their opinion on the local news station's blog - usually, of course, stating their opinion as "obvious" fact. It was so frustrating. The reality is that details of any incident are usually sketchy, and I think often that both people are at fault - not always, but often.

      Sometimes I get so tired of living in Portland. We are so quick to claim the title of victim, to paint ourselves as saints, and to rake everyone else over the coals when they make a poor decision. However, I'd assume that most, if not all of us, have had as many boneheaded moments on a bike as others have had in cars. We should stop being so one-sided in our narratives and judgements. Maybe if we made a better effort to see other people as human beings vs. devils we'd win more friends on the road?

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  • Paul Johnson September 2, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I'm still a little in awe about how far Elizabethton is trying to smear a five year old girl who, by the city's own admission, was operating legally. Seriously, who pissed in their Cheerios?

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  • bumblebee September 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I can appreciate and understand the officer's immediate concern for the child's safety. He made a judgment call; maybe it was the right one, maybe he overreacted. It's what took place afterward that troubles me most. Was it absolutely necessary to cite the parent? Whatever happened to simply speaking with a person about one's concerns, and working toward a solution or resolution to the problem at hand?

    I recall a TED talk that addressed a similar case where a parent mistakenly gave his son a bottle of hard cider at a baseball game. Someone alerted a police officer, and the child was immediately taken from his father. In the end, the judge said his hands were tied; there were statutes in place that kept him from ruling any other way on the case.

    Too many laws--too little reason, if you ask me.

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    • was carless September 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      I think there is a certain line that gets crossed when you start to threaten parents that the government may take away their children because of a judgement passed by a cop (he doesn't think kids should be allowed to ride bikes in public by themselves), which in turn has no basis in the legal code (it is legal in TN to ride bikes on public ROW for kids of that age).

      The cops didn't arrest or give the kid a ticket, and only after the police report was filed - and the mother threatened - did the police chief, who was not present at the time of the incident, make claims that the little girl broke a traffic law.

      I don't know about you, but my BS detector went off pretty early when reading about this.

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    • wsbob September 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      "...Was it absolutely necessary to cite the parent?..." bumblebee

      As reported in the Elizabethton Star interview with the chief, the parent was not cited...repeat...not..cited.

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      • Psyfalcon September 2, 2011 at 9:10 pm

        But they did call Child Services, which is much worse than any traffic ticket.

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        • wsbob September 2, 2011 at 11:41 pm

          According to the chief's interview in the Elizabethton Star, the PD was obliged by law to notify the CPS once the mother announced that CPS had made an investigation of the family for possible neglect on an earlier occasion.

          It still remains that as reported so far...and contrary to maus's headline that has accompanied the earlier bikeportland thread on this incident, the mom has not yet been officially charged or even accused of neglecting her child with respect to allowing the child to ride her bike to school.

          People have looked at a google photo aerial view of the intersection in question, and maybe a google street view (I haven't yet been able to.) Those are still picturess. Has anyone here seen video of the intersection...time lapse would be helpful...during rush hour? The streets and intersection may look "...relatively calm. ..." in still pics, but what about live, during rush hour? What's the traffic volume and speed limit/avg vehicle travel speed on this street?

          I can think of a street out my way in the Beav that would look relatively calm in a still pic...170th between Baseline and Johnson St. Simple two-lane residential road, partially equipped with bike lanes...40mph speed limit. Even with those bike lanes, is it a safe place for an experienced, bike in traffic savvy 10 yr old kid to ride a mile to school unsupervised? No way.

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          • wsbob September 3, 2011 at 12:13 am

            By the way, BikeMomTn has been very active over at bikeforums. Started a thread on the 25th. 400 some comments, which I've been browsing.

            She and some of the other people discussing the issue have got around to the question of what the speed limit on the road past the school the child attends is. She says its 25 mph:

            http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/762978-Police-quot-judgement-quot-versus-Law?p=13153289&viewfull=1#post13153289

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          • wsbob September 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

            "...The local newspaper has published a story that makes it appear as though the incident has been smoothed over. ..." maus/bikeportland

            Not 'smoothed over': Clarified.

            The police report wasn't well written, as Kristen ... http://bikeportland.org/2011/09/02/read-police-report-hear-more-from-mom-in-tennessee-child-biking-case-58504#comment-1960352 ...and others have noted.

            So in response to inquiries and controversy about the incident, the Elizabethton police chief stepped forward to offer more details and information as an explanation for the police officers', the police dept's an the DA's actions.

            The PD or police officer got reports of concern from people driving motor vehilces and some say...from the school as well...over a little girl on a bike out in traffic, so the PD had to check it. Upon finding her, he doesn't cite or arrest either her, or later on...her mother; he gives the child and her bike a ride home...doesn't hurt or threaten or scare her...he just gives her a ride home.

            At the child's residence he politely details to the mom, the possible complications of a child on a bike out in traffic, and how they could come to be interpreted by others. She responds with the info about the CPS, obliging the officer to enter that in his report.

            I browsed about 15 pages of comments over at bikeforums. Characterizing them is an extraordinary amount of hysteria and hubris amongst the majority of those comments, to the effect that the Elizabethton PD is working against the child and her mother, with no basis in fact to support conclusions of that nature.

            A question remaining, is whether the child will be allowed to continue to ride to school. The mom has said that CPS has given its approval that riding the child riding the bike to school is acceptable. The PD has the reports from the public it has to reconcile with the actual practice on the part of the child in riding to school. The PD though, is apparently willing to offer some help in devising a safe route to school.

            People have mentioned the Safe Routes To Schools program. The mom has heard of it, and said she wants to see it happen in her neighborhood. Considering the type of street it appears her child has to ride to get to school, what the neighborhood really probably needs though, is an adult escorted bike train as has been used here in Portland.

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  • Mark September 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Maybe the car operators should be ticketed for swerving and not driving appropriately. They are the dangerous ones.

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  • Steve A September 3, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Mark is very close. A motorist that fails to exercise the duty of due care in overtaking traffic ahead should at least be stopped and counseled about traffic law. OTOH, the "swerve story" is commonly made up by police that want to make a legal and safe cycling path appear dangerous.

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  • Dave September 6, 2011 at 10:30 am

    When, oh when will this hick, stupid car-addicted country lose it's oil wars in the Mideast and have to change it's transportation ways?

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  • JF September 6, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I am curious to Sgt. Markland's remark at the bottom of the police report. He indicates that Sgt. Johnson (the officer who actually stopped the girl on her bike) had received complaints from other residences about the girl riding her bike to school. And that Sgt. Johnson only stopped the girl on the bike after observing the girl riding the bike himself and thought that whatever she was doing was unsafe as well.

    To me, it is unfortunate that this is getting as much attention as it is. If this was not reported to CPS, then this would be a non-issue. However, it seems CPS had been notified before about the situation and complaints of the girl's riding to school by residences seem to emphasize to me that we are not getting the entire story.

    More details are required about the girl's riding abilities and complaints of the residences before I am going to worry/speculate any further.

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  • wsbob October 22, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    A bit of news about Teresa Tryon, 'BikeMomTn', and the issue she's brought to fore over police in her town that have cautioned her about the route her daughter rides to school.

    Ms Tryon has posted a comment over at bikeforums, giving those people a heads-up that she's going to be a guest on the television show 'The Doctors', on the 27th of October, which will be next Thursday. Check your local listings. KOIN looks to be one station that broadcasts the show.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/762978-Police-quot-judgement-quot-versus-Law?p=13392650&viewfull=1#post13392650

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  • wsbob October 28, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Another post today over at bikeforums from Teresa Tryon, 'BikeMomTn' related to coverage on the tv show 'The Doctors'. Contrary to what I thought, there may not have been an appearance on the show, but it seems the show produced a video dealing with the issue of police concerns over Tryon's daughters route to school. Here's the link to the video Tryon has posted over at bikeforums post #719:

    http://www.thedoctorstv.com/main/home_page?init_type=Feature&init_id=5067

    I myself, haven't seen it.

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