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Kids are keen observers of their environment, and interested in affecting it with positive change. Despite this, they are often made to feel like their efforts are merely play, that they don’t have the skills or experience yet to participate in the “real world.” We can give them the opportunity to make a difference by empowering them in the classroom to do “grown-up” things.
Teachers can prevent these perceptions by providing students with assignments that have real-world implications and impacts. Discuss biking and walking in your area and how their lives would be different if they could safely play and get around on their own. Take them on a neighborhood walk to assess conditions. Show them photos or video of places with comprehensive walking and cycling facilities, which inevitably have children riding and walking.
BikeTexas is working to pass Complete Streets bill, numbers SB 513 and HB 1105. This bill ensures that the entire right-of-way is routinely designed and operated to make access safe for all users. The bill is designed especially for the most vulnerable: children, the elderly, and the mobility impaired. A complete street may include: sidewalks, bike lanes or cycle tracks, special bus lanes, accessible pedestrian signals, and more. You can learn more, including an extended list of the benefits to children, by clicking here. Have your students consider how this bill becoming a law could affect their experiences walking and riding in their neighborhood.
Then have them put their thoughts on how important it is in letters to their city officials, state transportation authorities and state legislatures. Click here to locate the names and addresses of the legislators and tips for composing letters.
SuperCyclist Certified teachers can refer to Chapter 8 of the SuperCyclist Curriculum for a Safety Walk Checklist and suggestions on how to conduct a observation neighborhood walk. See Chapter 13 for a list of people that kids can contact about safety and access issues. The chapter describes several ways to promote safe cycling at school, in their neighborhoods and in the community.
If you haven’t been trained in presenting the SafeCyclist (previously SuperCyclist ) curriculum, please contact us so we can set up a teacher certification session in your area. Click here for details on the SafeCyclist Certification or call 512-476-RIDE (7433).