Bike Fort Collins was excited and proud to have been invited this week by the Thompson School to deliver an Education & Encouragement program to Ponderosa Elementary School in conjunction with one of their recent CDOT SRTS infrastructure grants. The grant covered a new raised pedestrian crossing equipped with a Rectangular-Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) (“Raised Crossing”) on Kincaid Drive, immediately adjacent to the school. The Education & Encouragement program was intended to do just that, teach the students how to use the new crossing safely while encouraging them to walk or ride their bikes to school and subsequently utilize the new infrastructure more.
In an assembly-style program, BFC spent an hour-and-a-half with each grade (K-5), taking each grade through three (3) ½-hour long stations. One station focused on the new Raised Crossing. A second station took place at the 4-Way Stop Sign/Intersection at the intersection of Kincaid Drive and Florence Avenue, near the front of the school. And the third station took place on the blacktop playground behind the school, where the students participated in an Air-Bike Rodeo (in the same way that air-guitar is pretending to play the guitar, air-bike is pretending to be on a bike). At each station, BFC’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) instructors taught and discussed key pedestrian (and bike) safety curriculum, including but not limited to:
- “Me-Check” – Focusing on how the students should make sure they’re ready to walk or ride safely, including such elements as ensuring they are dressed properly (bright colored clothing, appropriate for the weather), their shoelaces are tied, helmet is on correctly (for biking), etc.
- “Edges” – Educating the students on where and what edges are, how to spot them, and how they need to stop at edges, which can include curbs, ADA ramps, building corners, rears of cars in parking lots, etc.
- No Darting – Covering how darting out in the street is dangerous and why they need to cross at crosswalks (and not mid-block, or mid-street).
- Pedestrian Crossing Essentials – Emphasizing the need to look for vehicular and other traffic to their Left, Right, Left again, and Behind (L, R, L, B) before crossing at 4-Way stops, Raised Crossings, Yield signs, etc. prior to crossing a street at a crosswalk, stop sign and/or intersection.
- Eye Contact – Highlighting the importance of making eye contact with vehicle drivers when they are at a crossing or at an intersection at the same time, to ensure the driver sees them.
- ABC Quick Check – Introducing them through demonstration to the concept of checking their bikes before they ride them to make sure they are safe to operate (a Me-Check for bikes).
- Hand Signals – During the Air-Bike Rodeo, introducing them to and providing them the ability to practice the proper hand signals to use when on a bike, making right and left turns and coming to a stop (in addition to practicing L, R, L, B).
While our instructors, the students and faculty had to brave and persevere through some intermittent rain on the first day, the overall program was well received by the students and school staff. We were extremely appreciative of the school’s faculty and staff for how welcoming and accommodating they were to us over the two days.
Below are some photos from the two days and the three different stations, featuring SRTS Instructors: Deb Uphoff, Jane Haack-DeBroux, Tim Wooten, Susan Wannamaker, and Laura Davis.