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Well, there's the fact that laws like this actually have to be created:


That's exactly it. Other examples are parents depending on state get fined/threatened to loose their children when doing things like letting them walk across a park accompanied by a 10yo sibling.

Just to give an idea where I'm from:

* in my home country (one of the highest GDP/capita, so we're not talking poor&rural), children are walking alone or in unaccompanied groups to kindergarden at age 5-6. if parents try and drive them they're often scolded by school authorities, they're supposed to handle it by themselves.

* in Japan (just another example that I know well), children walk to school at age 5-6, accompanied by a 1-3 year older sempai that explicitely takes over the responsibility for younger colleagues. There's also people taking the responsibility for a given street corner at a defined time in the morning, watching out for the youngins a bit (but it's not necessarily their own). Again, people who drive their own are typically scolded by society.

* after school, children in both countries typically go do other activities on their own, like go to football club or in case of Japan do some school club activity. Curfew time is typically before dark or around 5-6pm.

* from time to time there tends to be an accident or case of violence/murder against children that might have been avoided without this culture of letting them run. people are outraged against the person who did it, but culture of self responsibility is not questioned and life goes on. risk is typically 1/1 million or lower (relatively safe drivers, low levels of violence).

It sounds like it’s more about urban vs suburban and rurual areas. I walked to school for 3 years because the school was close. I’m certain other kids in the suburbs don’t have a bus as an option if they live in a certain range. The school closest to my house is over 3 miles away and some parts do not have a sidewalk. When I lived near public transport I saw plenty of kids riding to private schools. Now that I’m in the suburbs it’s not possible.

No one is scared to let their children out because of violence or murder. That’s silly news media fear mongering unless you live in a bad area.

How close is the kindergarten to your house?

when I was a kid, around 30min for children's feet, besides a more or less residential road. where we live now, it's right beside our apartment building, no road crossings necessary. but even in more rural places in my country, children generally walk (or take the bycicle around age 9).

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