While many adults remember joyfully biking or walking to school, today’s kids experience far more shuttling around in cars. Introducing kids to bikes and bike safety opens up a world of happy and confident self-propulsion, along with plenty of fresh air. Win win win!
Bike Newport introduced the In-School Bicycle Safety Program in order to get our young people excited about wheeling to school and beyond, and to teach them how to do so safely.
The program piloted in Spring 2022 for all 3rd graders in Pell Elementary, and we added all 5th graders at Thompson Middle School in Fall 2022. The age-appropriate curriculum is taught by Bike Newport educators and supported by the schools’ Health and PE faculty.
Bringing bike safety education into the schools is generously funded by ESSERII federal funds, Ocean State Charities, EJMP Fund For Philanthropy, Powered by Prince, Hamilton Family Foundation, and RIDOT’s Division on Highway Safety – making possible the instruction as well as a dedicated fleet of bikes and inventory of helmets. Very cool helmets, in fact. That’s extra important, because each student gets to keep their (awesome) helmet at the end of the program, and the cool factor increases the likelihood that they will use them!
Marissa Caito and Maria Figueras, are Bike Newport’s bilingual certified bicycle safety educators. They bring their kid-friendly knowledge and skills to teaching safe bicycling with confidence. The students learn about their bicycles, how to wear a helmet correctly, how to use hand signals, and the rules of both the road and the sidewalk. They learn that safety and happiness come from sharing spaces predictably, respectfully, and courteously – whether we are biking, walking, or driving.
Bike Newport’s bicycle safety programs make biking inclusive and accessible to all. “Biking is for everyone, and we make sure there is on-bike instruction for all students no matter their ability or mobility,” explained Marissa Caito.
By teaching bike safety at a young age, our educational programs contribute to lifelong healthy habits and, we hope, a passion for pedaling. Our In-School Bicycle Safety Program is modeled on the best national practices for grade-appropriate and diverse teaching methods, course content, and student interaction.
“I loved it, more people should ride bikes! It was really important to learn the rules of the road and hand signals so that we can be more safe while riding our bikes.”
Lydia Grace Dyer, aged 10
“It was great fun, I really loved being able to ride my bike at school with my friends.”