Local group urges bike safety by all with school year underway

·2 min read

Bike Medicine Hat reminds local drivers to share the road with pedestrians and cyclists as the new school year gets underway.

In a release, the group press release says approximately 10,000 students are returning to school in the city and that Bike Medicine Hat continues to work with many different organizations, including school divisions, to highlight the importance of active transportation safety.

“It’s an exciting time for families as many students head back to in-person learning!” said Niki Gray, Bike Medicine Hat volunteer, in the release. “As we advocate for safe active transportation in the community, we are providing education through local partnerships to ensure drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists are aware of the road rules. We ask that community members continue to practice safe road awareness as students return to school.”

Some tips Bike Medicine Hat suggests for encouraging active transportation to school are to test the route and make sure it is safe and age appropriate for your child, practice the rules of the road, have your child buddy up and walk or ride with a friend. If cycling, make sure adequate gear is worn properly and bike storage is available. Lastly, always have a backup plan in case inclement weather comes into play.

More bicycle safety tips for kids listed in the release are to wear appropriate gear, which includes a good fitting helmet, closed-toe shoes and bright clothes. An “ABC” safety check is always a good idea; air pressure, brake check, chain shift. Teach your children to ride in a straight line and to be aware of other riders and traffic. Bikers need to ride on the right and follow the same rules of the road as cars, and should be cautious at intersections, crosswalks and driveways.

Bike Medicine Hat says there are numerous benefits to active transportation, like increased health and fitness, both mentally & physically, safer streets, less traffic congestion, improved accessibility and more time spent outdoors. The group says it also encourages independence and helps the environment.

“We love seeing our students riding their bikes to and from school, especially when families ride together,” said Laura Gale, vice principal of River Heights School, in the press release. “We appreciate drivers showing extra attentiveness as they navigate the busy streets around the school. Kids are just learning how to travel safely on their bikes; most have very limited experience. We rely on the grown-ups to make our neighbourhoods safe spaces to ride.”

To learn more about Bike Medicine Hat or to become a member, visit https://bikemedicinehat.com/.

LAUREN THOMSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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