Thanks to a new $190,000 grant awarded to the Prevention and Early Intervention Department at the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), students in SCOE’s Club Live Program at seven middle school campuses across Sacramento County will lead program activities to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety.
“Every bicyclist and pedestrian should feel safe on the road,” said OTS Director Barbara Rooney. “Education is one of many important tools that collectively work to make sure everyone, regardless of how they travel, reaches their destination safely.”
This is the eighth year SCOE has received the grant and it looks forward to continuing the countywide project. The goal is to help middle school youth develop attitudes and habits that promote lifelong traffic safety values, building a foundation that helps students make safe decisions when they become teen drivers. SCOE, working with Safety Center Incorporated and other community partners, will use the grant in its ongoing efforts with the California OTS to increase bicycle helmet compliance for youth (ages 5 to 18). Funding for the California OTS grant comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and runs through September 2023.
Students will complete a “photovoice” project (researching and representing their findings with photographs), identify safety concerns in their school community, and advocate for changes to be made. They will also educate their peers and families about bicycle and pedestrian safety and helmet use through activities, contests, public service announcements, social media posts, newsletters, and the distribution of safety equipment.
SCOE’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Program is a comprehensive safety program that teaches valuable skills for all types of road users. It includes classroom education, community-based presentations and workshops, plus the distribution and proper fitting of bicycle helmets for students and families in need. Bike “rodeos” and family events at Safety Center in Sacramento will encourage safe riding skills. Walking field trips and on-foot safety trainings will also be conducted, giving students an opportunity to practice safe habits with adult supervision.
SCOE and its partners have seen positive results from the safety education efforts. Last school year, classroom presentations reached more than 300 students at the seven participating schools. The program distributed more than 250 helmets at schools and community events. Survey results also demonstrated that the number of students wearing bicycle helmets at school sites increased.