Advocacy / Community / Family / Tips - Safety / Urban / Youth

Safe Routes Philly: Bicycle Education in Schools

Philadelphia Bike Ride

In the last Safe Routes post I introduced you to bicycle trains and offered tips on how to get one started at your child’s school or in your community. One of the most important elements of starting bicycle programs is teaching children safety skills. At Safe Routes Philly, we’ve put together a comprehensive program to teach walking and biking safety and get children active on two feet and two wheels.

Safe Routes Philly staff train School District of Philadelphia Health and Physical Education teachers.

Since 2010, Safe Routes Philly (SRP) has trained over 200 Physical Education and Health teachers in the School District of Philadelphia to implement bicycle and pedestrian safety lessons. When developing the the curriculum, I had to keep in mind the time and resource constraints of public school teachers. That is why SRP lessons are concise and can be taught in a variety of settings. Safe Routes Philly’s core lessons consist of a 45-minute health lesson, best suited for a classroom setting, and a 45-minute PE lesson, best suited for a gymnasium or other large open space.

The Safe Routes Philly lessons are also unique because they are all conducted without a bicycle. Yes, you heard me right! The only way that the lessons were going to reach mass numbers of students in Philadelphia was to find a way to teach bicycle safety without needing a fleet of bicycles. (Stay tuned for my next post about Bicycle Rodeos, which are a great way to teach children on-bike skills such as signalling and turning, maneuvering and weaving, scanning, and stopping.)

High school students at Girard Academic Music Program used Safe Routes Philly curriculum to teach 5th graders about bicycle safety.

Safe Routes Philly lessons can be used by parents, teachers, after school clubs and more! Beyond the core lessons, there are numerous lessons that engage children further in bicycle education including a science experiment about helmet safety and creating a Public Service Announcement to increase bicycling. There are activity book pages to compliment lessons and pages that are just for fun like word scrambles, color by numbers, and more. The videos provide a quick introduction for helmet fitting, a bicycle ABC safety check, and the rules of the road. If you are still itching for more video resources, I recommend checking out the Pennsylvania Safe Routes to School Resource Center’s videos. (Note: when you click on the Safe Routes Philly links above you will be directed to a page that asks you to enter your name and email address. This helps us track who is viewing our lessons.)

Safe Routes Philly is available to train teachers and program staff to deliver these safety lessons. Activity books may be available for programs that work with Philadelphia youth. Contact [email protected] for more information.

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