Photo: Itzhak Rabin Junior High School, Rishon LeZionBasically, around 1974 I developed the philosophy: “Minimum wage; minimum effort”. It has always served me well, especially in Israel. Unfortunately, I recently acquired a gun license and no longer was receiving the minimum wage. After a resident of Rishon was killed about two months ago, I agreed to make the extra effort and travel 2 hours each day to guard a junior high school there.
It wasn't too long when it began to become very obvious, even with the recent events in Tel Aviv, that, statistically speaking, the real and ever present danger to the students of Rishon LeZion is: “traffic accidents” and especially: “accidents on electric bicycles”.
If you take the total number of children killed or hurt this last year by terrorist and compare that to the number killed or hurt in traffic accidents then you can easily see there is no comparison as far as to the true danger to the community. Even if we compare the number of bicycle accidents on Yom Kippur alone to the total attacks by terrorists, the numbers still confirm this conclusion.
So: What’s the problem?
The problem is that laws concerning electric bicycles are already in place, they are just not enforced!!! That anyone on a bicycle MUST wear a helmet has been law in Israel for over 20 years (It should be added here that maybe the students don't wear helmets, but many of them do wear stereo headphones while they are riding...)
The issues are well known. Here is a link from an article that recently appeared in the Jerusalem Post:
In addition to the regulations concerning helmets, it is also against the law for anyone under the age of 14 to ride an electric bicycle in Israel (i.e. anyone who is not in grade level: “tet” is usually not 14 years of age).
Please see this second article from the Jerusalem Post:
An amusing aspect of this "enforcement" issue is that my school does aggressively enforce the regulation dress code of the Ministry of Education; insisting that each student wear the official school shirt with its logo. That 40 or so students break Israeli law by not wearing helmets passes by with no comment what so ever. That over halve of these students break a 2nd law because they are under 14 years of age also elicits no response what so ever... (As far as I know, no student has ever been hospitalized because the shirt he was wearing didn't have the school's logo...)
Recently at Itzhak Rabin Junior High one of the students broke his arm on the way home. This morning, while I was writing this article, one of them crashed into the gate. There is no question most students are larger than they were in the past, nevertheless, some of the girls in our school are smaller than average and weigh only 30 kilos or so. On the other side of the scale, among the boys riding bikes to school, quite a few of them weigh 60 kilos or more. In the United States I played a lot of contact sports and I can tell you: If a 60 kilo body, traveling 30 kilometers an hour, strikes a 30 kilo body, the results will not be pretty: broken bones, broken teeth and/or a concussion are all within the realm of possibilities….
In conclusion: yesterday I opened a file with the Israeli police in Rishon LeZion: File no. 15192/2016. I explained everything quite clearly to Sergeant Yevgeny Kliman and he agreed, without reservation, that it was a serious problem and should be looked into by the police. In addition, this morning I spoke to the municipality’s district school inspector and she too promised to send people to: “check out the situation”.
Naturally, I will be sending a registered letter to the Mayor of Rishon LeZion: Dov Tzur with a copy of this article and the police file….I will also be sending a copy to Minister of Education: Naftali Bennett.....
So, let’s see what happens…..
P.S. While I totally agree that the parents see their children leaving for school each day without helmets, nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the municipality and the police to enforce the laws, not the mothers and fathers….They say: "Nothing is taken seriously in Israel until someone is killed". Let's all hope that will not be the case this time.....