As Bike Ridership Increases, So Does Safety Awareness
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Due to new bus routes this school year, many District 51 students are using alternative methods to get to school.
Officials say schools in the Grand Valley are requesting more bike racks due to an increase in bike ridership.
Grand Valley Bikes is helping students in the region learn bike safety at their Bike Rodeo events.
On Monday they held one at Fruitvale Elementary School.
While the roadways can be unpredictable, knowing how to ride them safely is a skill that never goes way.
Eric Fiantaca, a fourth grade student at Fruitvale Elementary, said, "You always want to have your helmet tight enough. You want to have it where there's two fingers right here, two fingers right here and two fingers right here."
Amy Agapito, a Grand Valley Bikes board member and the co-coordinator for Safe Routes to School, said, "They need to have knowledge of road signs, turn signals and of the fact that on a bicycle they need to use signals."
This year, more students than ever could be applying the safety skills they learn to the real world.
"The kids within a two-mile radius of the school have to get to school on their own; they don't have the option of bus service. There are more kids walking and riding their bikes," Agapito said.
Director of transportation Tim Leon said, "Some of the schools have contacted the grounds department requesting more bike racks, so that would be an indication that there's probably more bike riders out there. Fruitvale is one school that requested more bike racks; Redlands Middle School is another."
Some kids got on bikes for their very first time.
Agapito said, "Just at Fruitvale we've probably taught five, six kids how to ride bikes, and they started with not being able to ride at all."
Officials say one of the most efficient methods of teaching kids how to ride a bike is by taking off the pedals. A simple motion of step, step and glide helps them learn to balance.
Bicycle instructor Abigail Slingsby said, "Bike riding is such an amazing sport and so much fun, so to be able to give that gift of a skill to a kid who can use it forever is so much fun."
Even if kids aren't riding their bikes to school now, knowing bike safety won't hurt.