Local Students Learning to be Safer BicyclistsJun 10, 2019 11:34AM ● By Editor
GRAND MARAIS, MINN. (June 10th, 2019) – This year, local third grade students from Sawtooth Mountain Elementary and Great Expectations School learned how to be safer, more confident bicyclists through the Third Grade In-School Bike Education program. Students receive safety and skills instruction and practice in the classroom, gym, and on the street using a fleet of bicycles purchased with grant funds for the program, sponsored by the local Safe Routes to School Committee.
“A super thank you to the schools, teachers, students, parents, and, most of all, the volunteers that make this program possible,” said Andrea Orest, Safe Routes to School Coordinator.
The Safe Routes to School Committee, including Cook County Schools and Great Expectations School, has collaborated with many volunteers to make this program possible. This year Tim Kennedy, Andrea Orest and school staff served as lead instructors, using the Walk! Bike! Fun! Curriculum developed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota.
Students learn important safety and bicycling skills, including the ABC Quick Check (Air – Brakes – Chain – Quick releases – Check it over), helmet fitting, rules of the road, and safe biking skills like power pedaling and scanning. “These are lifelong skills we want all of our children to learn. Bicycles provide opportunities for children to be active and have fun, as well as a source of transportation,” said Andrea. Instructors work with the students for four sessions before they go out on the streets for a ride that allows them to practice their new skills and have fun in the process. At the completion of the program, each student receives a certificate in celebration of their accomplishment.
Cook County is in its fourth year joining schools across the state in offering in-school bike education and is committed to continuing this important program. The local program has been continued with support from the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), which funds the Safe Routes to School Coordinator position, and with support from the membership of the Safe Routes to School Committee.
The Safe Routes to School Committee updated its Safe Routes to School Plan in 2015, which includes education programs. Safe Routes to School programs include the 5 E’s: Education, Encouragement, Evaluation, Engineering, and Enforcement. The committee will be updating the plan this fall again thanks to a grant from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. For more information about Safe Routes to School, contact SRTS Coordinator, Andrea Orest, at [email protected] or 218-387-2330 ext. 110.