Oak Creek students learn bike safety - just in time for summer
Oak Creek Elementary students recently got a lesson in bike safety, thanks to Clackamas County's "Safe Routes to School" program, The Street Trust, Bike Gallery and parent volunteers.
Safe Routes to School refers to efforts that improve, educate or encourage children safely walking (by foot or mobility device) or biking to school. The Clackamas County program is funded by a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Infrastructure-based programs focus on making sure safe walking and biking routes exist through investments in crossings, sidewalks and bike lanes, flashing beacons and more. Other programs focus on education and outreach to assure awareness and safe use of walking and biking routes; Clackamas County tapped The Street Trust to lead that effort.
Anja Bump, an Oak Creek parent, helped organize the event May 2 and 3 and educate students. "I have a lot to share about bike and pedestrian safety," Bump said. "Namely, that I think it's a shame that it isn't taught in school to all kids."
That's why Bump was happy to see Safe Routes to School come to Oak Creek. Students learned how to signal when they're turning, navigate traffic safely, obey traffic signals and more vital information to stay safe on the streets.
"Walking and biking is so important and healthy — I wish more kids could do it, and do it safely," Bump said.
Bump is from Germany, where she said traffic safety safety training starts in preschool. "(In Germany) it gets a huge focus in fourth grade, when it is part of the curriculum all year and is taught by the teachers," Bump said.
In Lake Oswego, Oak Creek students have to pass a test at the end of the year in order to get a bike riding license, according to Bump. "Without it, they are not allowed to ride their bikes on the street, and would remain on the sidewalks," she said.
The recent lesson was taught by members of The Street Trust, a nonprofit membership organization that works to promote and improve public transit, walking and bicycling conditions in Oregon. Since 1990, The Street Trust has worked in partnership with citizens, businesses, community groups, government agencies and elected officials to create communities where people can meet their daily transportation needs through active transportation.
Equity is important to both The Street Trust and Bump.
"We envision a community where everyone from all racial backgrounds has access to safe, healthy and affordable transportation options in the neighborhoods where they live, work, learn, pray, and play," reads The Street Trust mission statement. "We want all residents to equally share in the prosperity created by investments in active transportation regardless of race, income, and socioeconomic status."
Bump said she is grateful for The Street Trust for providing the lesson for free. Bike Gallery also supported the event, providing loaner bikes for students without their own. "We wanted to make sure everyone could attend," Bump said. "I am also thankful for the support of the school, specifically our principal Lilian Sarlos, who is always supportive when we want to offer classes."
For more information on The Street Trust or to bring their teachings to your school, visit www.thestreettrust.org/. For information on the Safe Routes to Schools program, visit www.clackamas.us/engineering/srts.html/.
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