Bike Smarts

Bike Smarts, a public education program in British Columbia, was introduced at Lochside Elementary School in 1996 as a way to educate students about bicycle safety and encourage them to cycle to and from school. Prior to the program’s launch, it was determined that the greatest barrier to children cycling was a lack of support from family members due to safety concerns. To address this barrier head on, program materials with an emphasis on biking safely were created and activities were designed to encourage active participation from family members. Schools like Lochside that registered for the Bike Smarts program were provided with a package that included a handbook, a helmet safety video, a Bike Smarts poster, supplementary materials, and a survey to be completed by instructors. Over the course of six weeks, students enrolled in the program received in-class instruction on riding safety, participated in neighborhood trips to practice their riding skills, and were encouraged to bike to and from school with their parents. Students were asked to keep a journal to log their cycling trips and those that completed 100km were eligible to attend a cycling field trip to Saltspring Island where a barbeque and activities were organized. To complete the program, students were required to pass both a written test and an "on-bike" cycling skills test. As the program came to a close, parents were asked to complete a survey that gauged how their attitudes had changed with respect to their kids cycling. 100% of parents reported that their children’s motivation for cycling had increased as a result of the program and most stated that they would continue to let their children to ride to school even after the program concluded.

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