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9-6-18 — Hands-On Program Stresses ABCs of Bike Safety

Sept. 6, 2018 ~ Riding a bicycle to school is pretty common for Olathe elementary students, but how many of them know to do the ABC Quick Check before they roll away on two wheels? Thanks to a special four-lesson program presented by BikeWalkKC.org, students at Bentwood Elementary School now have a better understanding of bike safety.

“We were looking for a new approach and something more comprehensive to help students review the bicycle safety components involved in getting to and from school in a busy neighborhood,” Principal Cathy McDonald said. “This well-established program emphasizes bicycle safety in the community and was a perfect fit for us.”

Thanks to financial assistance from the school PTA, BikeWalkKC.org brought its BLAST (Bicycle Lesson And Safety Training) program to Bentwood this fall. Representatives brought a trailer filled with bicycles and helmets so all third- through fifth-graders could receive hands-on training even if they don’t normally ride a bike to school.

“At Bentwood, we feel it’s very important to learn bike safety,” said physical education teacher David Glassman. “Many of our students ride bikes to school so we want them to be able to do so safely not only while at school, but after school hours as well.”

Before heading outdoors for their first lesson, Glassman made sure that students understood he wanted their full attention during this fun, outdoor session.

The first step was to find a bike helmet that fit properly, then students headed over to the fleet of bikes to learn the ABC Quick Check. Air in the tires, brakes, chain, quick release to adjust the seat height, and check themselves to be sure no shoestrings or clothing cords can get caught in the bike’s mechanics.

A few laps around the parking lot, one-on-one help for those who wanted to brush up on their riding skills, and suddenly their first 30-minute session was finished. The BLAST program built upon the basic skills throughout the four lessons.

“The students received this program very well and mentioned how much they enjoyed it,” Glassman said. “Students who came into the program a little unsure about it because they didn’t have much bike experience also seemed to find it very rewarding because BikeWalkKC does a great job teaching the bike basics.”

Principal McDonald is a huge fan of bike safety training.

“The Bentwood neighborhood is fairly large and divided by one of the busiest roads in Johnson County,” she said. “If we have given children confidence about riding their bikes for transportation and leisure, and they can do it safely, we have definitely met our goal! If they continue to enjoy bicycling as a leisure activity – it is a victory!”