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Local Students Learning to be Safer Bicyclists

Jun 02, 2021 12:20PM ● By Editor

All photos: Safe Routes to School Committee

From The Safe Routes to School Committee - June 2, 2021

This year, local third grade students from Sawtooth Mountain Elementary and third/fourth grade students from Great Expectations School learned how to be safer, more confident bicyclists through the 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.  

“We were so glad to be able to offer this education.  The students really seemed to enjoy it, and they were wonderfully active participants.  I’d like to thank Tim Kennedy and the school staff for all the work they put in to make this such a great success,” 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 in the classroom and in the gym before they go out on the streets for a ride that allows them to practice their new skills and have fun in the process. 

 Cook County is in its sixth year joining schools across the state in offering in-school bike education and is committed to continuing this important program. The program had to be cancelled last spring due to the pandemic.  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, Fireweed Bike Co-op, and the Superior Cycling Association. 

The Safe Routes to School Committee updated its Safe Routes to School Plan in 2020, which includes education programs. Safe Routes to School programs include the 6 E’s: Equity, Education, Encouragement, Engineering, and Enforcement, and Evaluation. For more information about Safe Routes to School, contact SRTS Coordinator, Andrea Orest, at [email protected] or 218-877-8262 

Andrea Orest
Safe Routes to School Coordinator
[email protected] 
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