The Rhode Island Department of Transportation officially launched a new program on October 18 called “Rhode to Bicycle Safety,” which teaches elementary school-age children safe bike riding skills.
In a statement, the department said it has operating this new program at three schools this fall, reaching more than 500 fourth and fifth graders, and intends to expand it in 2020 to many other schools across the state.
“Safety is at the core of everything we do here at RIDOT,” noted Peter Alviti, Jr., the agency’s director. “We’re excited about this new program and our role to equip children with the knowledge and skills that will help them bike safely.”
He noted that RIDOT’s “Rhode to Bicycle Safety” program features a comprehensive curriculum based on the best practices used by other state DOT-run bike safety programs as well as that of the League of American Bicyclists. Topics covered included: understanding the rules of the road for cyclists; the importance of wearing helmets; how to safely navigate intersections; understanding street signage; how to avoid hazards; understanding how bikes work and ensuring it is safe to ride.
[Similar advice is contained within the video below; crafted by the Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan Department of State to promote bicycling safety.]
RIDOT said that its course is comprised of four one-hour classes for each student and features a mixture of activities to help teach the students in a fun and engaging way.
RIDOT also provides the instructors, bikes and helmets, and all other equipment at no cost to participating schools and the program also includes options for students who have never ridden a bike, using “balance bicycles” with no pedals so they can move the bikes forward with their feet and work on balance.
The department said it is using $20,000 in state funds along with $80,000 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to buy the bikes and develop the bike safety program.