Bike Ed - Keeping kids safe and active
By the end of this year, all schools in Bass Coast Shire with year 4-6 students will have run a recent Bike Ed program.
The Bike Ed program aims to help develop children’s bike riding and road safety skills, motivation to ride, and confidence. Through developing these skills and behaviours the program promotes safe independent riding and an active lifestyle.
Bike Ed in schools aims to enable students to:
- gain knowledge and understanding of the road traffic environment and the road rules
- develop the physical and cognitive skills to manage the road traffic environment safely as a cyclist
- develop responsible behaviours, attitudes and decision-making skills for the safe use of bicycles both on and off the road
Other Bike Ed benefits include enhanced health, fitness and wellbeing, confidence and independence and learning and social development.
The program begins in the class room where students learn about road rules relating to cyclists and how the road system works. For example, the various ways to complete a right turn at an intersection.
Students then progress to skill-based activities of balance and control, within the confines of the school grounds. These include slow-riding, riding in a straight line, zig-zagging through a slalom course, scanning for traffic and signalling before merging and turning.
As students demonstrate basic competence in these skills and knowledge, they advance to riding on footpaths and shared paths, before moving on to riding on the road.
The Bass Coast Community Road Safety Committee supports Bike Ed by applying for funding provided by VicRoads. These funds subsidise the cost of Bike Ed instructor training for school staff and volunteers, a pre-requisite to running a program.
This year’s Bike Ed Instructor course is scheduled for 22 and 23 May at Bass Valley Primary School. Councillor Bruce Kent, the Chair of the Bass Coast Community Road Safety Committee, expressed excitement that sixteen participants have registered so far, including school staff, Victoria Police members and volunteers from the Phillip Island Bicycle Users Group.
“It’s fantastic to see so many people getting involved in the Bike Ed program.”
“The benefits of riding for children include improving fitness, friendships, and their confidence and it’s a great way for children to get more active” Cr Kent said.
The Road Safety Committee also applies for funding through VicRoads to support the maintenance of bikes and trailers, owned and operated through Wonthaggi Blue Light, which are available for schools, to cater for students who do not have a suitable bike.
Council and Victoria Police work together to monitor school crossings and driver behaviour generally around schools to improve safety for students walking, scooting and riding to school.