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The Chicago region’s current hub-and-spoke transit system leaves nearly half a million Cook County residents stranded in transit deserts.

New bike education effort aimed at older students

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Active Trans and Greenline Wheels just wrapped up a new two-week on-bike education program for students at Oak Park/River Forest High School. 

The program was partly the result of input from concerned residents and teachers in the OPRF community. 

The program’s goals are to: 

  • Teach kids about bike safety.
  • Ensure that they know about biking traffic laws and adhere to them.
  • Encourage biking as a means of regular transportation.

We began the program by introducing students to basic topics like helmet use, bike maintenance checks, lane positioning and signaling in traffic. 

Next we moved the classes outdoors to a limited-access road where the students practiced bike handling in a controlled environment where we could simulate common real world obstacles. 

After teaching them the basics, and practicing riding in a controlled environment, we starting taking the students on short rides to different neighborhood parks so that they could practice what they have learned and get more accustomed to riding in real world conditions.

Over time we’d like to see on bike education programs like this one incorporated into more high schools. And what would be even better is seeing bike education as part of the curriculum required by the state of Illinois. 

Especially in urban areas where car ownership and use have been in decline, we believe that learning to bike and riding safely is as essential as learning to drive a car. 

At the moment, this is the only program like this in the region. Active Trans was thrilled to bring the first run of this program to the 90 students and 2 teachers who participated at OPRF High School.