For the fifth 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 the Safety Center Incorporated, and other community partners, will use the funding in ongoing effort with the OTS to increase bicycle helmet compliance for youth, ages 5 to 18.
This $175,000 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. The funding is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Middle school students are at particularly high risk of being involved in pedestrian and bicycle crashes that result in injury or fatality. Sacramento County is ranked seventh in the state for pedestrian fatalities. The areas being served in this grant have been identified as “hot spots” or areas of greater need due to high numbers of pedestrian and bicyclist collisions. 2017 Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) data shows that 103 pedestrians and 102 bicyclists aged 0-15 were injured/killed in these designated hot spots.
For child bicyclists fatalities, 32 percent were in the 8 to 12 age group and 42 percent were aged 12 to 14 years old.
Student leaders in the Club Live Program along with Safety Center Incorporated will implement projects on middle school campuses throughout Sacramento County. Youth will educate their peers and parents on the importance of bicycle helmet use and bicycle and pedestrian safety through campus-wide activities, contests, Public Service Announcements and monthly parent newsletters. Students will complete observational pre- and post-surveys to measure the effectiveness of the project.