Students Learn to Bike Safety
Learning to ride a bike – what a blast! Just ask students at Broken Arrow, Langston Hughes, Quail Run and Schwegler Elementary Schools. These four schools piloted the BLAST program during the spring of the 2015-16 school year. BLAST stands for Bicycle Lesson and Safety Training.
BikeKC provided an instructor and a fleet of 30 mountain bikes to teach about 300 students in the fourth and fifth grades about helmet fitting, bicycle safety checks, traffic rules and road hazards. Students learned about starting and stopping, hand signals, scanning and how to safely ride in traffic.
“Learning to ride a bike is an important milestone for kids. I was a little surprised at how many students did not know how. It’s an awesome experience to teach a kid to ride a bike!” said Reenie Stogsdill, Langston Hughes Elementary School physical education teacher.
“When they’re ready, we want kids to ride their bikes and walk to school, so for them to learn the knowledge and skills to ride safely is priceless,” Stogsdill said.
Goals of the program include improved bicycling handling skills, proficiency of basic traffic skills and identification and avoidance of hazards. Lawrence Public Schools’ partnership with BikeWalkKC, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and Lawrence Bicycle Club supported the BLAST program.
“I really liked everything about it, but my favorite part was riding the bikes and practicing signals. I learned to always wear a helmet and be aware of the surroundings around you,” said Marlee Thomas, Langston Hughes Elementary fourth-grader.
USD 497 partners with the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department on Safe Routes to School initiatives. The seven E’s of Safe Routes are: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation, engagement, and equity. The education component is addressed in curriculum in the physical education department in the elementary and middle schools. After aligning standards with curriculum, the physical education department pursued bike education and began working with Bike KC and Bicycle Lesson and Safety Training or BLAST. Schwegler, Langston Hughes, Broken Arrow, and Quail Run Elementary Schools piloted the BLAST curriculum with fourth- and fifth-graders this last spring.
Bicycle Lesson and Safety Training (BLAST)
BLAST Core Concepts: confidence, safety and skills.
BLAST Goals: improved bicycle handling skills, proficiency of basic traffic skills and identification and avoidance of hazards.
Our thanks to Safe Routes to School partners Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, LiveWell Lawrence, City of Lawrence and Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization and to BLAST partner Bike Walk KC.