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Only 11 percent of Chicagoland residents ride transit to work.

The benefits of teaching bike safety to teens

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Teaching kids bike safety has a variety of positive effects. When kids regularly practice safe cycling, the streets become safer in the communities they live and travel through. 

At the high school level, when you introduce — or reinforce — bike safety, you present key skills and information at a time when young people are more likely to ride a bike for transportation instead of pure recreation.   

Also, when these teenagers eventually get behind the wheel of a car, they’re more likely to treat people biking with respect and courtesy. 

These are a few of the reasons that Active Trans works on providing high quality bike education for high school kids. 

Active Trans and Greenline Wheels recently completed the second run of a high school bike education program at Oak Park River Forest (OPRF) high school (see photo). The training included practical exercises on the school grounds and on city streets — all done with the goal of teaching them safety and adherence to traffic laws while enouraging them to think about biking as transportation. 

Also, this year we added new components like instructional videos from Active Trans, online quizzes and guidance on how to plot safe biking routes to the school. 

Students showed the most interest in talking about how to prevent collisions and how to keep their bikes from being stolen. And many of the students said they were excited to get back on a bike after many years of not riding, only to find out that many of the places they frequent are around a 10 minute or less ride from their home or school. 

Because of the large number of students who bike to school during warmer months, members of the OPRF staff and faculty said they were happy to see students getting trained in general bike safety and helmet use.

After two runs of this program, it stands as an example of how bike safety can be successfully integrated into a high school curriculum as valuable life skill.