Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

New Bicycle Safety Curriculum Now Available

RESTON, VA, May 8, 2014 – A ready-to-use bicycle-safety curriculum is now available free of charge for physical education teachers and recreation specialists working with students in grades 6-12 from the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Aligned with the National Standards for Physical Education, the curriculum includes lessons and assessments for the skills and knowledge students need to enjoy a lifetime of safe bicycling.

"Teachers felt strongly that teaching safety to children needed to involve parents," said Vicki Miller and Heather Board, curriculum developers and League Cycling Instructors. "As part of the curriculum, we included a parent section with 12 individual tip sheets for teachers to selectively pull from to encourage parents to reinforce what their child had learned and how they can support safe bicycling. Teachers can choose the sheets that fit their needs and how they want to distribute them." 

Further, some of the tips sheets can be used at other school events or as talking points whenever bicycle safety can be reinforced. A big emphasis point is for parents to be Roll Models when bicycling with their children or driving around bicyclists. We are asking parents to practice the same safe behaviors we taught their children – lead by example.

"Bike safety is so important," says Cindy Ferek, a past National High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year from Turner Ashby High School in Virginia and a participant in the pilot testing of the curriculum. "With the help of this curriculum, students are given the opportunity to learn to ride a bike in a safe, controlled and structured environment. We need to give them the skills needed to navigate the challenges out on the road, put them in similar situations to practice and problem solve ways to keep themselves safe.

"Many of the applied skills as a safe pedestrian and bicyclist are the same skills needed to be a safe driver," Ferek added. "Bicycle skills are important for safety and for students participating in drivers education. I would rather have a student make a physical or mental mistake on a 10 lb. bike going 10 mph than to make the same mistake in a 4,000 lb. vehicle going 45 mph. The result could be fatal. The consequences grow exponentially as speed, weight and momentum increase. As of this summer, all four high schools in the Rockingham School District have a fleet of mountain bikes. The students love it!"

Teaching this model curriculum enhances bicycle riding skills among youth. In so doing, these skills can reducing bicycle crashes due to rider behavior, increase physical fitness, and promote bicycling as an active way to have fun and get around throughout a lifetime.

Funding and technical support for this project was provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Society of Health and Physical Educators
The vision of SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators is "Healthy People – Physically Educated and Physically Active!" Headquartered in Reston, VA 25 miles west of Washington, DC, SHAPE America is the largest organization of physical education, physical activity and school health professionals who are dedicated to teaching and promoting active, healthy lifestyles. Founded in 1885, SHAPE America is well known for its leadership in the development of standards and guidelines, as well as resources, professional development and advocacy for physical education, school health education and physical activity. For more information, visit www.shapeamerica.org.