For many children, walking and bicycling are the main modes of transportation to and from school. While these are excellent forms of physical activity, children can lack the ability to cross a street and ride a bicycle safely on city roadways and sidewalks. They do not recognize behaviors considered high-risk for injury, such as not looking both ways when crossing the street or not wearing a helmet.1
The Beach Cities Cycling Club (BCCC) has designed a Youth Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Education Program that teaches participant the skills they need to be safe and confident pedestrians and bicyclists. This interactive program is offered free of charge to schools and organizations. The program is modeled after the League of American Bicyclists' Smart Cycling program that has been widely used across the United States.
The program is designed for various ages and grade levels and can be customized for each school or organization. All instruction is conducted in a safe environment, such as a school playground or another secured area.
Grades Pre-Kindergarten - 1
- Participants are taught how to be safe pedestrians.
- They will learn where and what to look for when crossing at an intersection.
- Various traffic scenarios will be simulated so participants can learn the rules of the road and practice crossing streets safely.
Grades 2 - 8
- Participants will use their own bikes for instruction and will learn how to perform a bike safety check before riding.
- They will be taught how to check helmets to ensure they are safe and fit properly.
- They will practice basic bicycling skills like starting, stopping and riding in a straight line.
- Participants will learn how to scan, signal and turn safely on streets and at intersections.
- Participants will practice what to do at yield signs, stop signs and traffic lights.
- They will be shown how to avoid hazards such as potholes, debris and car doors opening in their path.
Classroom Instruction: Instructors teach students basic pedestrian and bicycle safety principles. The importance of helmet use is emphasized. The BCCC program includes interactive videos to reinforce instruction. The students are given age-appropriate booklets about pedestrian and bicycling safety to take home.
Skills Practice: In the school yard or a closed parking lot, participants are taught pedestrian and bicycle safety in a safe "simulated street" environment. Participants are asked to bring their own bikes and helmets for this practice. A limited number of new helmets will be provided for those in need. This practice session usually lasts 45 minutes.
What the Program Includes
BCCC's program provides:
- Certified school cycling instructors* and volunteers
- Planning and coordination of the event
- Templates for event flyers and notices
- Teaching materials, handouts, videos
- Signage for the school yard or parking lot drills
* BCCC’s highly qualified program instructors are certified by the League of American Bicyclists through their League Cycling Instructor (LCI) and School Cycling Instructors (SCI) Programs. They have also completed National Center for Safety Initiatives background checks and have current tuberculosis tests. In addition, they have First Aid, CPR and AED Certifications. Several instructors also hold California Teaching Credentials.
Funding support for this free program typically comes from PTAs, our sponsors, grants and donors.
Benefits of the Program
BCCC's Education Program has taught more than 4,000 elementary and middle school students in the South Bay. Teachers report the following positive impacts of the program:
- Fewer student sick days.
- More productivity and engagement in the classroom
- Improvement in activity and heightened awareness of the value of exercise.
- Higher level of “situational awareness,” which results in students becoming safer pedestrians and cyclists and hopefully more cautious drivers later in life.
Research indicates that education programs such as BCCC's are effective by:
- Improving children's knowledge of how to cross roads safely, and changing their observed road crossing behavior.2
- Improving knowledge and behavior by teaching children how to put on a helmet correctly.3
- Contributing to decreasing pedestrian injuries from car crashes, when combined with other community interventions such as engineering and enforcement.4
If you are interested in participating in the program, or getting more information, please fill out an interest form, or contact Jim Hannon, or Steve Reichlin.
Jim Hannon, (310) 341-8701, firstname.lastname@example.org
LCI, SCI, USA Cycling Coach
President, Beach Cities Cycling Club, Inc.
Steve Reichlin, (818) 674-9273, email@example.com
LCI, SCI, Credentialed Teacher
Director, BCCC Youth Education
Safety Class in Action
- Ellis, J. (January 2014). Bicycle safety education for children from a developmental and learning perspective (Report No. DOT HS 811 880). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Duperrex, O. , Bunn, F. , & Roberts, I. (2002). Safety education of pedestrians for injury prevention: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials. BMJ, 324(7346), 1129.
- McLaughlin, K. A., & Glang, A. (2010). The Effectiveness of a Bicycle Safety Program for Improving Safety-Related Knowledge and Behavior in Young Elementary Students. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35(4), 343–353. http://doi.org/10.1093/jpepsy/jsp076
- Turner, C. , McClure, R. , Nixon, J. , & Spinks, A. (2004). Community-based programmes to prevent pedestrian injuries in children 0–14 years: A systematic review. Injury Control and Safety Promotion, 11(4), 231-237.