The Muheim Elementary School Bike Rodeo will be expanded this year as part of the Muheim Active School Transportation (ACT) Program with increased funding from the Ministry of Transportation.
The school participated in a pilot program in 2021 to encourage active modes of travel including walking, cycling, skating, and scootering to school.
Community Safety Officer Matt Davey worked closely with the pilot program to improve awareness and safety for drivers, parents, and students because Muheim is in a central location and can become congested causing significant challenges for traffic, especially bus drivers, trying to navigate around pedestrians and parked vehicles.
The pilot program took a three-phased approach to safety using alternate forms of transportation, which will be expanded on, with the parents, educators and students at the school taking an active role.
The first phase is the enforcement portion, which entails stepping up information to the parents and encouraging them to park kitty-corner to the school, in the open lot across from Home Hardware.
The school is also actively putting out bright orange cones to block off the ends of parking on the streets directly in front of the school, during the school day.
“These are the most dangerous areas for pedestrians and the bus drivers to see children crossing the road if their view is blocked by a car,” Davey said.
“The least favourite part of my job is to write tickets, so we are actively working with the parents in where they park.
Also, the crossing across from the playground has a really bright flashing light now, so that’s been working great to make drivers aware to slow down around the school.”
The second phase is being conducted in conjunction with Bike to Work Week and deals with fun and safety with the kids, Davey said.
During that week he will also be helping other agencies such as the Brain Injury Association with bike safety through a bike rodeo, safety information groups and the use and proper wearing of bike helmets.
Phase three will be a media campaign and will involve the kids.
“There is a Facebook page on safety around Muheim School, information around being more physically active and using bikes, walking and using skateboards and scooters to get to school, Davey said.”
“I’m pretty pleased with the first year, awareness has been raised about the dangers around parking, busses and students at Muheim school,” Davey concluded.
“It has been a situation that has worried me for a long time,”
Nick Adamson, an educator and bike mechanic, will be helping to facilitate the second year of ACT at Muheim and will be helping to repair bicycles and increase accessibility to equipment.
He will also be coordinating the bike rodeo program with Davey.