The Active and Safe Routes to School Program is excited to formally announce our new Bike Education program, called the Bike Education and Skills Training (B.E.S.T. Program). The B.E.S.T. Program was developed in partnership with Manitoba Public Insurance, Bike Winnipeg, and the W.R.E.N.C.H, with additional support from Dave Elmore of Bike Week Winnipeg.
In late 2015, Bike Winnipeg called together a meeting of stakeholders in the cycling education community, and put forth their idea to create a bike education program for Manitoba Schools. This meeting was timely, as Manitoba Public Insurance had also recognized that a gap existed in Bike training for children aged 9-14, and wanted to support programming aimed at children in this age range. From this “Big Tent” meeting, a smaller working group of representatives from Bike Winnipeg, the W.R.E.N.C.H. and the Active and Safe Routes to School program at Green Action Centre was created. This working group first began meeting in early February, and began working on making this project a reality. Early on in the process, the Seven Oaks school division expressed strong support for the project, and a desire to be the host division for the pilot study.
Thanks to funding from Manitoba Public insurance (as well as in-kind donations of staff and communication support), the committee was able to hire a Program Coordinator in June of 2016-Bob Lawrie. Bob came to this project with ample experience as the head coach for the Manitoba Alpine Association for many years, as well as a background volunteering as a coach with the Kids of Mud Program.
Bob spent the summer developing the B.E.S.T. program manual, and presented it to the curriculum committee in early August for review. After several revisions, the final draft was approved in late August for program delivery in September of 2016.
The project is being piloted at four schools in the Seven Oaks School Division in Winnipeg, with extensive evaluation through surveys, tests, and skills assessment to measure the efficacy of the program. Our ultimate plan is to see this program adopted in school divisions across Manitoba so that children learn safe road riding skills, and gain the confidence to safely navigate Manitoba streets.
The Bicycling Education & Skills Training in Schools (BEST) Program has been developed to:
• Promote safe participation through in and out of class time cycling in Grades 4 to 8 Physical Education/Health Education (PE/HE)
• Assist schools/divisions in developing in-school PE/HE programs, including safety management, which take them off the immediate school property
• Assist schools/divisions in delivering sustainable cycling programs promoting Active and Safe Routes to Schools (ASRTS)
• Provide school aged students the cycling knowledge and experience they need to safely ride to school, in their community, and later as adults
Over the last several years, cycling has become a more popular form of exercise, recreation and transportation. While some people are cycling as part of their
environmentally-conscious lifestyle, many others are trying to improve their health and increase their physical activity and others simply prefer to travel by bicycle, when possible.
Census data and Bike Winnipeg’s bicycle counts show an increasing number of commuter cyclists in Winnipeg, and Manitoba generally.
Though there are more bicyclists on Winnipeg streets, most riders, especially middle school aged children, do not have the knowledge or skills to bicycle safely. In
particular, they lack knowledge of the rules of the road, their responsibilities as a cyclist, and how to ride safely in traffic. They also lack an understanding of the importance of basic bike maintenance, and use of properly fitted helmets. School aged students may also not have enough knowledge or understanding to develop safe, alternative routes to and from school.
Due to this lack of skill, understanding of traffic, and confidence, many people (at various stages) avoid the road and traffic altogether when travelling by bicycle. They instead, choose to ride on the sidewalk, with or against the flow of traffic, putting themselves and pedestrians at greater risk.
Many motorists lack knowledge of cyclist behaviours, and safe riding practices, it is hoped that by providing all students with basic cycling skills they will be more aware of
cyclists’ needs later in life. Students learning and practicing safe cycling techniques will be more likely to cooperate and interact safely with cyclists when they become drivers.
This pilot aims to provide school aged students the knowledge and experience they need to safely ride to school and in their community. The pilot also aims to outline ecobenefits and equity in local infrastructure through cycling.
Bicycling Education & Skills Training In Schools Outcomes
A new educational program and appropriate support materials will be developed to encourage and teach students to bicycle for transportation and recreation. The program will be designed to meet the existing objectives of the Manitoba physical education and health programs for students in grades 4 through 8, through a combination of classroom and hands on instruction in bicycling skills and knowledge.
Participating students will receive approximately 2 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of on-road training per year. A student having taken the full 5 years of training in
Grades 4 to 8 would thereby receive a total of 10 hours of classroom instruction and 30 hours of on-road training.
1. Greater knowledge of cycling safety and skills – and more consistent adherence to sage cycling practices – among project participants compared to; a) prior to participation and b) the control group;
2. Greater knowledge of – and more consistent adherence to the rules of the road – amongnproject participants compared to; a) prior to participation and b) the control group;
3. Greater percentage of students using a bicycle as a main form of transportation among project participants compared to; a) prior to participation and b) the control group;
4. Better understanding by motorists, of the rules of the road and road safety, near participating schools compared to control group;
5. Lower rate of cycling falls and collisions (per distance travelled) among project participants compared to; a) prior to participation and b) the control group;
6. Lower percentage of cycling on sidewalks among project participants compared to; a) prior to participation and b) the control group;
7. Greater awareness (and developed plans) of safe cycling routes among project participants compared to; a) prior to participation and b) the control group;
8. Greater levels of fitness among project participants compared to; a) prior to participation and b) the control group;
9. Greater support for transportation cycling and cycling education among project participants compared to; a) prior to participation and b) the control group parents;
10. Increased student ridership;
11. Students being able to identify if their bike is in good working order.
General Learning Outcomes
The Bicycling Education & Skills Training in schools (BEST) Program is an activity based approach to facilitate the safe and active transportation of middle years ages students. The students will experience personal achievement on various levels, and learn the life-skills necessary to navigate the roadways successfully.
The BEST Program allows learning to occur through inquiry based teaching methods. The concepts and skills listed include cross-curricular opportunities to increase the student engagement. This will also stimulate opportunities for decision training and discussion to occur at safe and appropriate opportunities.
Bicycling Education & Skills Training in Schools (BEST)
The BEST Program has been developed to:
• Promote safe & active transportation strategies through cycling and education in and out of class.
• Provide students with the education and training to choose Active and Safe Routes to School while incorporating strategies that promote
active living and active transportation.
• Have students demonstrate safe and responsible behaviours to manage safety and prevent injuries in physical activity participation for daily living as per the Physical Activity
Here is some great media coverage of our BEST Program Launch on October 12th,2016