Folsom’s Gold Ridge Elementary institutes Project Bike Smart
By Rebecca Garrison, 50 Corridor TMA
Rebecca Garrison is the Executive Director of the 50 Corridor TMA and has been an active supporter of bicycling throughout the 50 Corridor for many years. She is also a key member of the region’s May Is Bike Month team. Photo credits to the incredibly talented Dave Cassel.
In the summer of 2015, Frankel contacted the 50 Corridor Transportation Management Association for assistance.
“I wish these responsibilities didn’t fall on the most vulnerable users of the roads, as our street designs and traffic laws should be designed to protect them and not just be focused on moving motor vehicles faster. With proper bike infrastructure like connected bike paths and protected bike lanes, streets would be safer for all users of the road and put less stress on children who should be simply enjoying the freedom and joy that bicycles bring.”
Fortunately, the neighborhood around Gold Ridge is more bicycle friendly than most. “Our school was built to be the hub of the neighborhood,” said Principal Frankel. “Increasing safe cycling to school will improve the quality of life in the neighborhood, reduce congestion associated with drop off and pick up, and hopefully connect families and students better.” One Bike Smart parent volunteer has already formed a mini bike group to ride to school together each morning. “The most common response to youth bike education programs from parents is that they would love to let their kids ride but are too afraid of the traffic dangers,” said Steele. “That’s ironic because their solution is to drive their children instead, which creates more traffic. There are always many misconceptions about how bike riders should behave. As the students go home and share their experiences and knowledge from this class, parents should begin to see that their children can be trusted as responsible bicycle riders and that there are other options than driving everywhere. We do a lot of un-teaching of improper behaviors from both the students and their parents, like stressing to never, ever ride on the wrong side of the road.” And while Frankel is thrilled about the newly educated and skilled cyclists returning to their normal 5th-grade curriculum next week, traffic is still on his mind. “I’m looking forward to seeing how many more students ride their bikes to school over the coming months. We would love to secure on-going funding for this program next year so we can continue to address our traffic concerns and strengthen safe routes for students on bikes."