The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) Prevention and Student Services (PASS) Department has been awarded a $160,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long, countywide project to increase pedestrian and bicyclist safety for middle school students.
The goal of the safety project is to help middle school youth develop attitudes that support lifelong traffic safety values and to build a foundation for making safe decisions when they become teen drivers. SCOE, working in partnership with the Safety Center Incorporated, UC Davis Medical Center's Trauma Prevention and Outreach Program, and other community partners, will use the funding as part of an ongoing effort with the Office of Traffic Safety to increase bicycle helmet compliance for youth, ages 5 to 18. The goal is to reduce the number of young bicyclists and pedestrians injured or killed in traffic collisions.
"This program is a great opportunity to reinforce potentially lifesaving bike safety messages to our students and their families," said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon. "Many of our county's students ride their bikes to school, so they and their families need to be reminded about the importance of wearing their helmets and sharing the road with pedestrians and motorists."
Middle school students (ages 11 to 14) are at particularly high risk of being involved in pedestrian and bicycle crashes that result in injury or fatality. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show 9% of fatalities and 20% of injuries in bicycle collisions involve children younger than 16 years of age. Despite those statistics, there are very few interventions or educational programs provided through schools or community agencies aimed at reducing the risk and increasing safety.
This is the second year that SCOE has received funding from the OTS. After an initial year of funding bicycle and pedestrian safety projects, SCOE—in partnership with UC Davis—will now survey middle school students to collect data on why helmet use is low for their age group and what young people suggest the program can do to increase that number. The data collected will assist SCOE and its partners in creating effective projects and programs for this age group.
SCOE and Safety Center Incorporated will also partner this year with UC Berkeley SafeTREC (Safe Transportation Research & Education Center) to implement a pedestrian safety study at one of the participating middle schools. The study will collect data to improve local pedestrian safety, build capacity of community partners, and create safer, more walkable communities.
This grant will provide opportunities to help create a culture of traffic safety within the middle school population, their families, and their communities. The funding comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The schools invited to participate in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program were identified as having high numbers of accidents and collisions in their communities involving youth ages 11 to 14, and demonstrated readiness and willingness to participate in the project.
- Albert Einstein Middle School, Sacramento City U.S.D.
- Arden Fundamental Middle School, San Juan U.S.D.
- Cesar E. Chavez Intermedia (4-6), Sacramento City U.S.D.
- Edward Harris, Jr. Middle School, Elk Grove U.S.D.
- Foothill Ranch Middle School, Twin Rivers U.S.D.
- Gold River Discovery Center (K-8), San Juan U.S.D.
- James Rutter Middle School, Elk Grove U.S.D.
- Kingswood (K-8) School, San Juan U.S.D.
- Lichen (K-8) School, San Juan U.S.D.
- Samuel Jackman Middle School, Elk Grove U.S.D.
- Sutter Middle School, Sacramento City U.S.D.
- Will Rogers Middle School, San Juan U.S.D.
- Provide support to implement school-wide activities to engage students and demonstrate bicycle and pedestrian safety in a fun and interactive way
- Create opportunities to participate in activities such as bicycle safety rodeos/clinics, helmet-fitting events, bicycle check-ups, safety "pedal kart" courses, and distracted driving simulator events
- Give recognition for completing activities in the form of badges displayed on the campaign website and via social media
- Share educational materials and bicycle safety equipment, including bicycle helmets for students in need