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SafeCyclist Training Proves Worthwhile for Teachers

A boy identifies parts of a bicycle as part of the SafeCyclist Curriculum.

As part of our ongoing commitment to reach schoolchildren across Texas with a message of bicycle safety, BikeTexas regularly conducts teacher training sessions in the SafeCyclist Curriculum with the help of a TxDOT grant. Since 1991, BikeTexas has certified close to 4,000 PE teachers and youth community workers. In addition, our SafeCyclist certified college faculty have taught approximately 4,000 students studying to be PE teachers. Part of the grant includes asking teachers for feedback at the end of the school year about the results of using the SafeCyclist Curriculum in their classes.

Many, many thanks to the teachers who took time at a few points during a busy school year to respond to our call for feedback. Your responses will help shape the future of the SafeCyclist Curriculum and will also influence future funding for Safe Routes to School in Texas.

Teachers practice the SafeCyclist lessons at a teacher training

Based on the feedback we received, BikeTexas has determined that at least 180,876 Texas schoolchildren learned about bicycle safety during the 2012-2013 school year. We believe the precise number may be much higher. We also celebrate a growing appreciation among our Texas teachers for the SafeCyclist Curriculum in a time when concerns for our children's health are growing due to increased childhood inactivity, obesity, and diabetes. We look forward to continuing our partnerships with teachers and with the ISDs they represent to continue to reach more Texas children with the lifesaving messages of bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Some of the responses we received:

Teachers at a training at BISD

"It gives me great pleasure to be able to teach my students a bicycle safety course. We have a lot of visitors at our school, Stephens Elem., Houston, TX. They are still very impressed to see our students riding bikes at school. My students love it. I have about 25-30 bikes and this is one of the highlights of my PE program. It is an honor and makes me feel good to be able to show the video and let my students ride bikes; many do not have the chance or have bikes at home. They and I love it." Theresa Lucher – Aldine ISD

"I enjoyed teaching the 'tune your bicycle and your body' segment. I think it's important that kids realize that they will enjoy bike riding and can ride longer if their bodies are in balance, flexible, strong, and they have achieved improved endurance." Dee Darst – Irving ISD

A teacher rides a bike as part of a teacher training.

"It gives me the chance to teach college-age students the importance of bike safety on college campuses as well as prepare them to teach their children or the classes that they might one day teach in their teaching careers." Kerri Hart – Abilene Christian University

"The actual facts of the safety course. Some of them were eye openers for our students at Villa Nueva Elementary." Florencio Torres – Brownsville ISD

"I enjoy the obstacle course. It encompasses all the safety issues with bike safety. We teach bike safety on scooters, as most of our students don't own a bike. I believe all students should know the bike safety rules and be able to adhere to them when they do get on a bike." Patricia McAlpin – Plano ISD

Happy teachers after a teacher training session

"We held our Bike Rodeo as an after school event for about one and a half hours and had volunteers from our Police Department and BikeIrving friends help with stations. My favorite part of actual teaching was the demonstration with 'crash' about helmet safety. Also hearing stories from the community and families at school about the new interest in and practice of riding bikes and riding them safely. I love seeing our bike racks begin to fill at school. I am excited to continue this curriculum early next year to start off the year with cyclists and walkers to school and as an improved from of transportation for our families. I would rather see a family of cyclists than a car FULL of children with no seat belts or even enough seats for everyone in the car!" Jana Neill – Irving ISD

"I enjoy the games for teaching the bike laws: Super Cyclist Turnover and the Charades game where kids act out the rules." Ellen Deaton – Humble ISD

UT students learn the SafeCyclist curriculum to teach to their own students one day


SafeCyclist Teacher Training in Mineral Wells

BikeTexas went north to Mineral Wells for a training session in the BikeTexas SafeCyclist curriculum. We were able to pull in a few students during the training so the teachers could get some hands-on practice right away.

Mineral Wells Teacher Training


Bike to School Day in Sugar Land

Students prepare to ride to school in Sugar LandMother, Safe Routes to School advocate, physical therapist assistant, and BikeTexas SafeCyclist-certified Sugar Land resident Nicole Volek started "Shape Up Sugar Land" to get her community active and moving. When Bike to School Day rolled around on May 17, she was ready.

Nicole worked with local police to organize safe routes for Fort Settlement Middle School students to get to school and arranged for a police escort on May 17. The students gathered at 7:30 AM at Memorial Park in Sugar Land to ride to school together in a celebration of a healthy lifestyle and the fun of riding a bike.

Nicole says, “We are proud of the students that woke up early to participate in this event. This event reduces pollution, and promotes health and wellness to all.” Next year, Shape Up Sugar Land plans to add another school and build on the momentum from this year's event as other students see how much fun it is to ride a bike to school.

Since 1991, nearly 8000 teachers, police officers, and other professionals who work with children have been trained in the BikeTexas SafeCyclist curriculum, which they've in turn taught to their students across Texas, reaching approximately 200,000 schoolchildren per year. In addition to training teachers, BikeTexas also offers a Safe Routes to School Event Manual, so you can plan your own bike or walk to school day, or even get up a bike rodeo with the children in your neighborhood. The Event Manual offers step-by-step instructions for a fun event.

Grab your manual now and start planning for International Walk to School Day on October 9! Twenty-three schools in Texas have events scheduled already-- will yours be next? There were 120 Texas Walk to School Day schools in 2012, so we expect to see the number grow as October gets closer.

Photo credit: Randy Kozlovsky

Students left to right: Chloe Gallegos, Bailey Rivenes, Jake Parker, Vivek Sinha, Shiv Chopra, and Kelly Eng, with Sugar Land Police Officers (l to r) Anthony Clarite, Neal Kym, Adam Williams and Richard Rivera


Editor's note: This article was updated on June 20th to change the number of teachers trained from 5000 to 8000. We apologize for the error.


Bikes Make Life Better: Saris Fifth-Grade Poster Contest

Vijeyta's winning poster"Bikes Make Life Better" was the theme for the third annual Saris Cycling Group nationwide poster contest for 5th graders. Young artists competed first with their peers at their school to be the winning entry, and schools submitted their best posters to BikeTexas, the statewide coordinator for the contest, for the next round of judging: The best poster in Texas.

Vijeyta riding her new bikeThe 2013 Texas winner is Vijeyta from James F. Bay Elementary in Seabrook. Vijeyta is the president of the school's Student Council and a member of the Garden Club as well as the Robotics team. She loves drawing and reading. Vijeyta also loves outdoor activities, especially bike riding. For her poster, Vijeyta won a Schwinn bike, a Planet Bike bike light, and a Lazer helmet.

Vijeyta's poster went to the national level along with all the other state-level winners. BikeTexas is proud of Vijeyta for drawing such a beautiful poster and representing Texas well! Over 500 elementary schools from 27 states participated in the nationwide contest, with top honors going to Hannah Pauls from Mississippi.

"Over the past 20 years in the bike industry I have seen the bicycle positively change the lives of individuals as well as communities,” explained Saris President Chris Fortune. "In just the 3rd year [of the contest], we have already witnessed the tremendous impact this contest can have on our youth. It is one way we are able to engage kids to think about and become more aware of the bicycle and its many beneficial uses. Through this contest we hope to not only encourage fifth graders to ride their bikes more frequently, but also to form the foundation of a lifelong, healthy, active lifestyle.”

Nia's second-place posterSecond place in the Texas contest was Nia from Ortiz Elementary in Brownsville, and third place was Igra from Woodland Hills Elementary in Kingwood. Both of these students also received prizes for their award-winning creations.

Many thanks to the schools, teachers, and young artists who participated in the "Bikes Make Life Better" Saris poster contest! Incoming fifth graders, get ready; it will be your turn to design a poster next spring with your own new theme! 

Igra's third-place poster




The contest is sponsored by Saris Cycling Group, Schwinn Bicycles, Planet Bike, and Lazer.




BikeTexas KidsKup Thanks Rick Wetherald

Rick Wetherald shows eager racers what can happen to your brain without a helmet.For five years, Rick Wetherald has been a constant presence at BikeTexas KidsKups--running the races, keeping the kids' attention, and cheering for and congratulating all participants. Beginning with the Fall 2013 races, though, that spot will be filled by someone else-- Rick is moving to Utah to do post-doctorate work in kinesiology, leaving Texas and the BikeTexas KidsKup behind.

Rick's last KidsKup was May 18 at The Warda Race. BikeTexas congratulates "Doctor Rick" on his Ph.D. from Texas State, thanks him for all the kids he has inspired in his past five years with BikeTexas, and wishes him the very best in this new chapter.

Rick Wetherald accepts a thank-you gift from BikeTexas.









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