SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL

Safe Routes to School is a nationwide effort to get more children biking and walking to school for their health, academic achievement and the environment–and doing so safely.

SUPPORTING A LARGER MOVEMENT

Bike Fort Collins began partnering with the City of Fort Collins back in 2012 to develop and build the Fort Collins Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program into what it is today. Safe Routes to School is part of a national program under the Safe Routes to School Partnership.

Collectively there are over 400 SRTS programs nationwide. SRTS helps youth find smart ways to bike or walk to school. When students ride their bikes (or walk) to school, the whole community benefits from reduced traffic, better air quality and healthier lifestyles. And, perhaps best of all, the children arrive at school safely, energized and ready to learn.

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WHAT IS SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL?

This video was produced in 2019 and provides a great overview and glimpse of what Fort Collins Safe Routes to School programming entails.

FROM TRAINING WHEELS TO GRADUATION

Through a dedicated school rotation schedule, the Fort Collins SRTS program is delivered to students who go to a Poudre School District school residing within City of Fort Collins boundaries during Elementary School, Middle School and High School. At each level students receives a carefully crafted curriculum, integrated into the school day through PE classes, on how to bike and walk to school safely, as well as helping to hone bike riding and handling skills.

Due to the number of Elementary Schools, the rotation schedule is coordinated so programming is delivered to each school once every three years. Then, programming is delivered to each Middle School and High School annually. Subsequently, a student should receive SRTS programming three times during the time (K-12) they are enrolled with PSD.

 

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Elementary students are taught basic bike safety, and bike handling skills (varying on ability via Bike Rodeo courses). And students who don’t know how to ride a bike are taught to. Students in 4th and 5th grade are also taken on bike field trips to put their new skills and knowledge into practice, while exploring other parts of Fort Collins by bike. Students are asked to bring their own bikes to school for the program. Each is checked by a qualified mechanic at the beginning of a school’s rotation to ensure that all bikes are operating safely and properly. Minor tuning is made, and if a student’s bike is deemed unfit to ride during a bike check, a bike is provided to them so they can still participate. The program also offers free bike helmets to students to use, if they don’t have their own.

MIDDLE SCHOOL

Middle school students are taught the rules of the road and taken out on a guided bike ride on the city’s low stress network of bikeways and bike trail system. Similar to the Elementary School program, Middle school students are also asked to bring their own bikes to use during the program, where they are checked by a qualified mechanic ahead of time. Those without their own are able to use program-provided bikes and helmets at no charge during the sessions.

HIGH SCHOOL

High school students are reacquainted with the rules of the road, given they hopefully have already seen the material two other times at middle school and elementary school. Additionally, students are put through a modified Bike Rodeo to practice and hone their skills before using the balance of time on off-campus bike rides via the city’s low stress network of bikeways and bike trials, as well as city street riding. Finally, given many are new motor vehicle drivers, or will soon become them, high school students are taught a Bicycle Friendly Driver course to heighten their awareness for bicyclists, their rights to roadways from driver’s perspective and how both road users can safely coexist.

BIKE CLUBS

Bike Clubs take youth of all ability levels and ages on rides after-school, while also providing additional bike skill instruction and education. Lincoln Middle School is currently the only after-school Bike Club and is partially funded thanks to proceeds received through the FoCo Fondo Race held every August.

WALKING CLUBS

Walking Clubs take 4th and 5th grade students on walking adventures after-school, providing a means for exercise and additional education on navigating roads and vehicular traffic. Putnam Elementary School is currently the only after-school Walking Club.

FAMILY RODEOS

Family Rodeos are events where we set-up a similar course to the Bike Rodeos we use in the SRTS school curriculum, but instead we incorporate it into a session for a neighborhood or community group. In the past, thanks to funding from Kaiser Permanente, our SRTS Instructors and volunteers have been able to hold family rodeos, ice cream socials and rides for residents of La Cocina and the Poudre Family Mobile Home Park neighborhoods.

BIKE CAMPS

Bike Camps are typically a couple-to-several day, or even weeklong summertime camps where we spend the day with children riding to various fun locations or activities, practicing cycling skills along the way and teaching them bicycle safety, bicycle etiquette and rules of the road.

This video is from a Bike Camp in July 2019, funded per our Active Living program grant from Kaiser Permanente. Kids from local mobile home parks in northern Fort Collins participated in the 2-week, all-day (M-Th) camp.

WISH FOR WHEELS FOCO

To augment our SRTS efforts and get more kids on bikes, and riding bikes to school,  Bike Fort Collins has joined forces with Wish for Wheels to form Wish for Wheels FoCo, a Customized Bike/Build/Give Event intended to bring a FREE bike and helmet to every 2nd-grader in Poudre School District in need of one.

The ultimate goal of the Fort Collins SRTS program is to reach a level where 50% of students within the city are biking or walking to school on a regular basis. Each year, the Fort Collins SRTS program educates over 7,000 students, conducts over 4,000 bike mechanic checks and logs over 30,000 aggregate miles of bike riding.

SRTS PROGRAM EXPANSION

We recognize that we don’t currently reach all students within the Poudre School District, particularly schools in LaPorte, Wellington, Tinmath and even the yet-to-be named new PSD elementary school scheduled to open in Loveland in 2021. We are looking for sustainable funding that would enable us to offer and deliver this great programming to the schools in those areas as well. If you, your business or someone you know would be interested in helping to sponsor or underwrite this expansion, please email our Dave Dixon, Executive Director at dave.dixon@bikefortcollins.org.

SRTS INSTRUCTORS NEEDED

We are always in need of individuals with a passion for bicycling, kids and teaching. If this is you, see this job description to apply, or raise your hand to begin the process too, via our volunteer sign-up.

LATEST NEWS AND INFORMATON

Visit our News-Blog for the latest news on what we’re up to with Safe Routes to School.

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