Safe Routes Scoop
Back-to-School, Bike-to-School

Dealing with Potentially

Negative Situations

Many schools that ban biking do so out of fear of injury and bicycle theft. In Wharton, Linwood, Fair Haven, and Medford Lakes, there have been no serious bike-to-school related accidents. While crashes can sometimes happen, the bicycle education programs in each of these communities have helped prevent incidents with detailed safety knowledge.

 

While most of the communities reported that they have had no problems with theft, Principal Spiers and Superintendent Bitondo said that theft had been a concern in Linwood and Wharton. In both communities, a simple solution has virtually eradicated the problem while actually working to encourage even more children to ride. By relocating the school bicycle racks to more visible and prominent areas, theft issues have all but disappeared. With theft concerns no longer an issue, children in Linwood and Wharton gain even more reason to bike to school.

 

Working with Local Resources Promoting bicycle safety and biking to school is not something a school staff has to do on its own. In each of the four communities, the school has worked with various local partners to help educate and encourage students. One great resource in each case has been the local police department.

From running bike rodeos and education programs to helping to determine the safest biking routes to school, local police have had a lot to offer.

 

In Medford Lakes and Linwood, parents have also proven to be an important asset. Chief Martine has worked with the parents in the Medford Lakes Home and School Association to organize and run many successful bike safety events. In Linwood, Principal Speirs works with skilled parent volunteers to provide free bike tune-ups and to fix minor problems at the annual bike rodeo.

 

Seeking the help of outside groups and organizations can also prove beneficial. In Wharton and Medford Lakes, local bicycle vendors have become excellent partners in various bike safety and bike promotion events. Bitondo said that Wharton has also received assistance in the past from its local Safe Kids [http://www.usa.safekids.org/state

_display.cfm] organization and county Transportation Management Association, TransOptions [http://www.transoptions.org/].

 

Recognizing Opportunity within Your Community

To effectively promote biking to school, you must recognize the unique opportunities that your community presents. Turner and Grimmer report that biking to school has not been a hard sell in Fair Haven

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