April 20, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Houston Teachers to Receive Bike Safety Education Training
Training was scheduled in response to the death of two Houston-area elementary students in 2005.
Austin, TX — On Monday, April 24, 2006, Houston Independent School District will hold the first ever comprehensive bicycle safety education training for the district’s elementary physical education teachers at the Butler Sports Complex. Bicycle and pedestrian safety has become increasingly more important in the Houston area following the deaths of two elementary school children in the past year.
Ten-year-old Anthony Dwight was riding his bicycle home from school on April 14, 2005 when he was tragically struck and killed by an automobile across the street from his school. He was a student at Oak Forest Elementary in Houston. According to news reports, the boy was traveling on the wrong side of the road.
On August 18, 2005, nine-year-old Ruth Young was riding her bicycle to school when she was tragically struck and killed by a school bus a block from Frazier Elementary in Pasadena. She had ridden her bicycle into the blind spot of the school bus when she was hit by the bus, according to news reports.
These tragic crashes could have been prevented by implementing bicycle safety education in Houston schools. Texas Bicycle Coalition offers training to elementary physical education teachers in the Texas SuperCyclist Curriculum, an award-winning and nationally-recognized bicycle safety education course designed for fourth and fifth grade students. This dynamic program encompasses ground-breaking bicycle safety games and activities. Grants from the Texas Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Education enable the Coalition to offer the training for free to elementary physical education teachers across the state.
Texas Bicycle Coalition responded to both tragedies and, with the support of Houston ISD Superintendent Dr. Abelardo Saavedra and State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), coordinated a Texas SuperCyclist bicycle safety education teacher training for all 207 elementary schools in Houston ISD. Unfortunately, the September 30, 2005 training was postponed as Houston evacuated in preparation for Hurricane Rita.
More than 50 teachers are expected to attend the free training on April 24, representing about 25 percent of the elementary schools in the district. Texas Bicycle Coalition has assembled a team of experienced bicycle safety educators, many from the Houston area, to lead the training.
Senator Ellis plans to attend the training and address the teachers as they begin this critical bicycle safety education. Mayor Pro-Tem Carol Alvarado and Houston City Councilwoman Toni Lawrence also plan to attend the event.
Teachers who attend the training will receive a copy of the Texas SuperCyclist Curriculum and six continuing education units from the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD). Those who complete the training and pledge to teach the curriculum for at least two years will receive a BikeTexas Teacher Kit after the training. The teacher kits include all the items necessary for a PE teacher to implement the curriculum. Companies from the bicycle industry – including Bell Helmets, Planet Bike and Wilderness Trail Bikes – have generously donated items for the teacher kits.
At the training, the teachers will have an opportunity to spend over an hour outside riding bicycles and setting up bicycle skills and decision-making courses. They will also learn important alternate ways of teaching basic bicycle and traffic safety using “Virtual Bicycles” since some students may not be able to bring a bicycle to school for practice.
Community supporters from two local bike shops, Acme Bicycles and Bike Barn, will be present to help teachers properly fit their helmets and to perform safety checks on the teachers’ bicycles. Acme Bicycles and Bike Barn have also donated water bottles, bike bells, gift cards and hats for door prizes. Houston Trek Dealers generously donated a Trek 7200 bicycle which will be given away at the end of the training.
To date, the Coalition has trained more than 2,800 teachers across Texas in its bicycle safety curriculum, reaching approximately 500,000 Texas youth with the message of bicycle and pedestrian safety. By providing this same training to all elementary schools in Houston, the Coalition hopes to prevent the sort of tragedy that befell Anthony Dwight and Ruth Young, while at the same time promoting healthy lifestyles and a mainstream form of transportation.
Texas Bicycle Coalition is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing bicycle access, safety and education in Texas. The Coalition was formed in 1991 to unify the voices of thousands of bicycle enthusiasts, the bicycle industry, Texas bicycle clubs and Texas-based bicycle rides and events. With the support of these members and community partners, the Coalition seeks to develop and steward the future of bicycling in Texas and encourage bicycle use as a healthy and mainstream lifestyle and transportation choice. As the only statewide organization focused on these issues, the Coalition has played a critical role educating children in the safe use of bicycles and safety equipment. For more information about Texas Bicycle Coalition, visit www.BikeTexas.org.
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The teacher training will be an excellent photo opportunity.
Registration is at 8:30am, and the training begins at 9:00am and continues until 3:00pm.
The outside bike course portion of the teacher training will occur in stages, at approximately 10:30am, 1:00pm and 2:00pm. The Butler Sports Complex is located at 13755 South Main in Houston. Additional bicycle safety resources are available at www.BikeTexas.org.