For the fourth straight year, the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Department has been awarded a 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 project’s goal is to help middle school youth develop attitudes that promote lifelong traffic safety values and build a foundation for making safe decisions when they become teen drivers. SCOE, working with Safety Center Incorporated and other community partners, will use the funding in an ongoing effort with the OTS to increase bicycle helmet compliance for youth, ages 5 to 18.
Middle school students are at particularly high risk of being involved in pedestrian and bicycle accidents that result in injury or fatality. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016 more than one-fifth of children 14 and younger killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. The 8 to 12 age group represented the highest percentage (30%) of child pedestrian fatalities. For child bicyclist fatalities, 42% were ages 12 to 14.
SCOE and Safety Center Incorporated will again partner with the UC Berkeley Safe Transportation Research & Education Center (SafeTREC) to implement a pedestrian safety study in an area of high bicycle and pedestrian collisions. The study will collect data to improve local pedestrian safety, build capacity of community partners, and create safer, more walkable communities.
The grant will provide opportunities to help create a culture of traffic safety within the middle school population, their families, and their communities. The program includes classroom education, bicycle rodeos, community events, presentations and workshops, and providing bicycle helmets, including proper use and fitting, for students and families in need. This program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.