The Prevention and Early Intervention Department at the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) has been awarded a $175,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to run a countywide project aimed at increasing pedestrian and bicyclist safety for middle school students.
The grant will fund a comprehensive safety program that teaches valuable skills to all road users. The program will include classroom education, presentations and workshops, and bicycle helmets (including proper use and fitting) for students and families in need. It will also help youth develop attitudes that promote lifelong traffic safety values, building a foundation for making safe decisions when they become teen drivers. New this year, students will be encouraging elementary students from nearby feeder sites to engage in safe bicycle and pedestrian patterns.
As part of the program, student leaders in the Club Live Program, which builds leadership skills and provides students with opportunities for community engagement, will be implementing projects across Sacramento County. Students will complete a “photovoice” project (representing their research with photographs), identify safety concerns in their school communities, and provide recommendations for change. They will also educate their peers and parents on the importance of bicycle helmet use, along with bicycle and pedestrian safety, through activities, contests, public service announcements, social media posts, and monthly newsletters. Participants will complete observational surveys before and after the project to measure its effectiveness.
“Our roads are increasingly risky for people who walk or ride their bike,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “The goal of this funding is to reverse the growing trend of bicyclist- and pedestrian-involved crashes by educating the public on safe road behaviors.”
This is the seventh year SCOE has received the grant, allowing it to continue its ongoing efforts to increase bicycle helmet compliance for youth (ages 5 to 18) in conjunction with OTS, Safety Center Incorporated, and other community partners. Funding comes from the California OTS, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).