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Students Roll (And Signal) With Bike Safety

Students Roll (And Signal) With Bike Safety
Allison McGowan

Middle school can be a time of transitions as students enjoy additional responsibilities and freedoms. Oftentimes those new opportunities include navigating the transportation system on your own. That’s where Sam Mclemore and her team steps in.
Sam is a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Site Coordinator with Willamalane Park and Recreation District. Each year she travels to middle schools throughout Springfield as part of the SRTS Bicycle Safety Education Program, teaching students how to safely navigate the transportation network while avoiding the most common causes of injuries while riding a bike.
On a sunny April spring morning, her captive audience was a group of 6th graders at Hamlin Middle School. They started their lessons in the gym as part of their PE class. They talked through different safety scenarios they may encounter while on the road, helmets on of course.
The group of excited 6th graders then transitioned outside for a bicycle safety check and then jumped on a bike. They rode to the parking lot where they had to safely control the bike, and navigate simulated streets and an obstacle course. They also practiced shoulder checks, signaling, handling, pedaling, stopping and turns.
The last two days of the class are designed to combine all of the different lessons together in a Community Ride. Students will venture off campus and ride in the neighborhoods around the school. Safe Routes to School is always looking for volunteers to help with the safety class and Community Ride.
A federal grant funds the program.