Eugene Recreation has received a $22,000 grant from the Jane Higdon Memorial Fund through the Oregon Community Foundation. The funds will be used to continue the Bicycle Safety Education Program that teaches fifth and sixth grade students in the Eugene 4j, Bethel, and Springfield School Districts how to be safer and more predictable cyclists. It is one of the first regional programs of this type in the country and reaches approximately 1,000 students annually. The City was also awarded this grant in 2012.
The program provides extensive road and specifically on-the-bicycle education with the goal of increasing youth bike ridership and safety so they can have fun traveling predictably, visibly, and legally through our community. An additional goal is to teach the students lifelong skills about getting around in their community using active and healthy transportation choices.
The Bike Safety Education program includes a 10-day curriculum for sixth and fifth grade students. It starts with classroom instruction on the rules of the road, how to ride properly and how to check their bikes for safety. Next, the students participate in on-bike drills conducted on school grounds and then on open streets. The class culminates in a community ride around local neighborhoods that is made possible with the assistance of community volunteers from each district’s Safe Routes to Schools program.