By Phil Sarnoff
Do you remember your first ride on a bicycle? If not your first ride, how about when you saw a child just starting to ride? That feeling of freedom. The wind in your hair.
Bike Utah is trying to give that same feeling to kids in Utah.
The Youth Bicycle Education Program will provide an introduction to safe bicycling for school-aged children across Utah. This 5-hour program will be administered at schools and will target students in the 5th to 7th grade range. The curriculum addresses the benefits of riding a bicycle, rules of the road, helmet fitting, bicycle safety checks, navigating intersections, right of way, and avoiding hazards. Bike Utah will administer all aspects of this program, including providing a trained instructor, bicycles, helmets, and all necessary equipment so all schools and students can participate regardless of financial ability. The program has the capacity to move around the state so it can be administered at schools in all corners of Utah depending on the season. We estimate this program will be administered to approximately 3,000 youth over the course of one year.
In addition to administration of the bicycle education curriculum, each student will be given a safe bicycling packet to take home to his or her family. This packet will give family members a more thorough understanding of the content their student has learned, information about how their family can safely incorporate bicycling into their lives, and information about the importance of physical activity. The packet will include resources where youth and adults can obtain bicycles and helmets at no or low cost and additional information about safe bicycling.
The instructor will also work with each school to do a bicycle and pedestrian audit to assess how their surrounding infrastructure influences bicycling and walking. As part of the audit, the instructor will provide suggestions as to how the school can improve as well as connections to financial and technical resources for implementation.
Our budget to launch this program is $125,000 and, to date, we have raised $50,000. Please consider making a donation, becoming a member, or connecting us with any funding sources so we can launch this program and get more kids in Utah riding.
Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] with any questions about this program.