For many children, walking and bicycling are the main modes of transportation to and from school. While both are excellent forms of physical activity, many children lack the basic skills necessary to safely cross a street or ride a bicycle on city roadways/sidewalks. Many children do not recognize behaviors considered high-risk for injury while walking and bicycling, such as not looking both ways when crossing the street or not wearing a helmet.
The Beach Cities Cycling Club (BCCC) has designed a Youth Bicycle and Pedestrian Education Program that teaches children the necessary skills to be safe and confident pedestrians and cyclists. 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, which 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
• Children are taught how to be safe pedestrians and will learn basic bike riding skills
• They will learn where and what to look for when crossing an intersection
• Various traffic scenarios will be simulated so students can learn the rules of the road and practice crossing streets safely
Grades 2 – 8
• Children will use their own bikes for instruction and will learn how to perform a bike safety check before riding their bikes
• They will be taught how to check their helmets to ensure they are safe and fit properly
• They will practice basic bicycling skills like starting, stopping, and riding in a straight line
• Children will learn how to scan, signal and turn safely on streets and at intersections
• Children 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 children basic pedestrian and bicyclist safety principles. The importance of helmet use is emphasized. The BCCC program includes interactive videos to reinforce instruction. The children are also given age-appropriate booklets about bicycling and pedestrian safety to take home.
Skills Practice: In the school yard or closed parking lot, children are taught pedestrian and bicyclist safety in a safe “simulated street” environment. All children are asked to bring their own bikes and helmets for this practice. Special balance bikes can be made available to teach younger children how to balance, start and stop on bicycles. A limited number of new helmets will be provided for those in need. This practice session usually lasts 1- 1.5 hours and is often combined with classroom instruction.
What the Program Includes
Beach Cities Cycling Club’s program provides:
- Certified school cycling instructors* and volunteers
- Insurance and liability coverage
- 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 through the School Cycling Instructor (SCI) Program. 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 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 
- Improving knowledge and behavior by teaching children how to put on a helmet correctly 
- Contributing to decreasing pedestrian injuries from car crashes, when combined with other community interventions such as engineering and enforcement 
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 below.
Jim Hannon, (310) 341-8701, firstname.lastname@example.org
League Cycling Instructor, School Cycling Instructor, USA Cycling Coach
Board member of the South Bay Bicycling Coalition and Beach Cities Cycling Club, Inc.
Steve Reichlin, (818) 674-9273, email@example.com
League Cycling Instructor, School Cycling Instructor, Certificated Teacher
Director, BCCC Youth Education
- 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.