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Old 04-13-10, 06:10 PM   #1
sknhgy 
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How do I start a Bike to School Day?

I teach high school in a small rural Illinois community. The culture around here is big trucks, 4-wheelers, etc. None of the kids currently ride bikes to school. It's not cool.
I'm thinking of asking the administration to grant an extra 15 minutes for lunch to any student who bikes to school on a chosen day. Extra lunchtime is a reward given for various reasons throughout the year. I've mentioned this to some of my underclassmen and they are all for the idea. I'm trying to get these kids interested in bike riding.
Any other suggestions? Is there a national bike to school day?
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Old 04-13-10, 08:00 PM   #2
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I think you first have to promote the thinking that bikes are cool. Start them playing bike polo, make up polo bikes with single handlebar, from charity store bikes. You only need a small number of bikes as they can be used by multiple riders as the riders are rotated on and off the field. Then use the core of your bike polo team to promote riding to school and not just for a day.
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Old 04-14-10, 06:04 AM   #3
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Good luck.. schools in my area specifically prohibit it. They feel it's a liability issue. I can't image what it would be if the actually *encouraged* it and someone got hurt.
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Old 04-14-10, 06:24 AM   #4
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hmmm ... good idea but if anyone ever got hurt could you ever forgive yourself?

after graduating high school I found out that my favorite science teacher had organized a senior student science trip. most kids got their via a school sanctioned vehicle, I forget if it was a van or a bus. however he permitted some to travel by their own car and there was a fatal car accident, killing one or more of his students. he was devesataded and resigned. I don't know what he ever did after he left that school. he was a great guy and even though the accident wasn't his fault, I'm sure I know why he felt so badly.
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Old 04-14-10, 06:31 AM   #5
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Perhaps, (hoping your district doesn't restrict like Chandltp) you could spin it off of BIKE TO WORK WEEK/DAY, using that Friday. You could get your local bike coalition/stores to donate swag and offer the 1st 25 riders a bag. Just a thought
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Old 04-14-10, 06:44 AM   #6
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If you have an active student council and/or parent group I suggest starting there.
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Old 04-14-10, 06:58 AM   #7
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Question #1: Is your school (or school district) involved in the national Safe Routes to School program? (see http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/saferoutes/ for a wide variety of links and points of contact).

May is also National Bike Month. Here's a brochure on organizing and encouraging "bike to work days" that can in many cases translate directly to "bike to school day." http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/b...onth_guide.pdf
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Old 04-14-10, 07:09 AM   #8
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Do you or any of the other teachers live close enough to bike to school yourselves? Start there, and lead by example. Challenge the phys ed staff to match you.
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Old 04-14-10, 07:24 AM   #9
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cycling is too dangerous for children
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Old 04-14-10, 10:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry_llama View Post
cycling is too dangerous for children
Not as dangerous as riding in a car. The chance of being killed in a car per hr of travel is 3 times as high as for a bicycle. Allowing for average speed of car being twice that of a bicycle, travel by car is 50% more dangerous.
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Old 04-14-10, 10:32 AM   #11
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Schools in my area prohibit it too because the streets here are not conducive for bike riding. You have to inspect if the school zone is safe for kids first before you even start to promote this.
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Old 04-14-10, 11:05 AM   #12
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Good luck. In San Diego the perception is that cycling is more dangerous than football, which statistically doesn't add up. Having said that, Southern California finally has its own intramural high school MTB league, and kids from schools in poor neighborhoods are being allowed to train at the velodrome once a week.

When I grew up back in the Middle Ages loads of kids rode their bikes to school. The bike racks were always full. Now it's just the opposite. Some schools even go so far as to forbid students from riding to school. The solution is universal traffic calming in neighborhoods. Parents wouldn't have to be so overprotective that kids miss out on one of the great pleasures and rites of passage of growing up.

Kids need to learn early on that the universe can be a dangerous place. It's not safe out here. A bloody nose or some road rash is a great way to learn what not to do.
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Old 04-14-10, 11:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
I teach high school in a small rural Illinois community. The culture around here is big trucks, 4-wheelers, etc. None of the kids currently ride bikes to school. It's not cool.
I'm thinking of asking the administration to grant an extra 15 minutes for lunch to any student who bikes to school on a chosen day. Extra lunchtime is a reward given for various reasons throughout the year. I've mentioned this to some of my underclassmen and they are all for the idea. I'm trying to get these kids interested in bike riding.
Any other suggestions? Is there a national bike to school day?
I liked the previous suggestion to lead by example.

High School is different from elementry school. These are young adults, not children. Good. Facilities may be lacking. They do need somewhere to lock the bikes and there may not be any.

It looks like you have done some major groundwork, you have a group that is all for it. That is what I'd consider the hard part thinking of my High School back in the dark ages.

My one big piece of advice is talk to school administration and get approval before doing anything more. If there are problems with approval it is better to work it out slowly, behind the scenes than in the spotlight where problems can lead to a flat out NO and no forever.

Relative to the reat of yuor students you might want to point out what tough guys some of the top cyclists in history have been. In the 1975 TDF Merckx competed with a broken cheekbone. Fausto Coppi suffered over 20 broken bones during his career. Tough as any football player.
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Old 04-14-10, 06:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by larry_llama View Post
cycling is too dangerous for children
And your evidence is?

What I find bizarre is society's acceptance of this argument. If the local swimming pool was infested with adults who dived in on top of kids without looking, pushed them to one side or under water while swimming, elbowed them/kicked them, etc., would parents say, "Sorry kids, swimming is too dangerous for kids, you might be drowned because of the way adults behave"?

Or would there be an almighty furore in the local media about irresponsible adults and a crackdown on such behaviour?

Do the same thing in a car and everyone accepts that there's nowt' you can do.

It's not cycling which is dangerous for kids, but being hit by motor vehicles. Get the definition wrong and you can't find a solution.

Which is the more civilised society, the Dutch/Danish model which prioritises children's right to cycle safely to school or the anglo-saxon one which regards the safe exercise of their right to ride to school as an imposition on the rights of drivers?
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Old 04-14-10, 08:00 PM   #15
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cycling is too dangerous for children
Please tell me you're being sarcastic?
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Old 04-14-10, 08:57 PM   #16
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I second PsyclePath's suggestion. I am waiting to get with one of our school district's police officers who is starting to implement the Bicycle Train program, which is part of the Safe Routes to School program mentioned. So I would start with the school district's safety officers or police officers, if they have it.

I thought there was a Bike to School Day component of the National Bike Month and Week. As for your being in high school, the Bicycle Train is for elementary and middle schoolers, so you should be able to encourage something like that for high school students.

Good Luck and keep us posted as to what happens,

Leo H.
Sun Valley, NV
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Old 04-15-10, 07:33 AM   #17
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Safe Routes to School currently covers kindergarten through middle school (8th grade). There's a bill pending (H.R. 4021) to extend the benefits to high schools, and the transportation authorization act would increase funding and also expand it to high schools.

At high school level currently, forming a bike club, possibly under the auspices of the PE department would be a good start. Or pair up with a local bike club or advocacy group for organization, some traffic skills training, and encouragement by getting students to ride together in groups.. whether to the park, to the movies, or ro a ball game or something... There's many ways to skin that cat...
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Old 04-15-10, 05:09 PM   #18
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See if you can get a copy of the Sprockids programme from British Columbia - www.sprockids.com for more info.
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