Teaching Safe Cycling in Niagara
Heart Niagara is pleased to announce that we have received funding from the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund to work on Cycling Safety Education (CSE) with Grade 5 and 6 students.
Heart Niagara is working with community partners such as Public Health, School Boards and the Board’s Transportation Consortium, Active Transportation (AT) groups, and Municipalities to educate children (ages 9-11) about cycling safely to school and other destinations. This will increase opportunities for children to bike in a safe environment and help them develop the fundamental skills necessary to make cycling a lifelong form of physical activity that they can use for both recreational and transportation purposes. Heart Niagara also wants to ensure that all children have access to safe cycling gear.
We will test the program during the school day with 12 schools and during after school times at several community events. Students will receive an in-class session reviewing aspects of cycling safety such as hand signals, required safety gear, bicycle/helmet fit, and rules of the road. Students will also undergo an on-tarmac cycling session (Bike Rodeo), led by our nationally certified CAN-BIKE instructors (Canada’s leading cycling education program), where they can practice safe bicycle handling skills and play fun cycling games. This on-tarmac session will include time for a bike mechanic to check the safety of the student’s bikes and do minor repairs. Instructors will also inspect the condition of the student’s helmets and any other safety gear. The program may also include an on-road cycling session to further enhance student’s confidence in cycling and put their skills into practice on the actual roadway.
Our overall goal is to teach children about the importance of road safety and help them acquire the skills they need to safely and confidently operate their bicycle on the roadway, as if it was a vehicle. We believe that when children become confident in their own cycling abilities, they are more inclined to cycle on a regular basis, thus increasing the health benefits of cycling.
Bicycles are an important part of today’s traffic scene, which is why safety should be the number one priority for the people riding them. By educating youth about bicycle safety and how to make their safety their priority, we are making a significant contribution to ensuring a safe environment for them to grow.
Funding for our Cycling Safety Education Project was provided by: