2024 Middle School Street Smarts Bike Safety

Routt County Riders Announces 2024 Middle School Street Smarts Bike Safety Program and Calls for Volunteers

The 2024 Street Smarts program will include all 6th graders at Steamboat Springs Middle School, Sleeping Giant School, and Hayden Middle School.

This spring, Routt County Riders, Steamboat Springs Middle School, Hayden Middle School, Sleeping Giant School, The Cycle Effect, Routt County Public Health and SBT GRVL will collaborate to reach nearly 350 Routt County middle school students with bike safety and education workshops during the month of May. This third year of the “Street Smarts” program will emphasize the importance of equipment and helmet checks, following the rules of the road, interpreting signage, and safely commuting on a bike from the school through local neighborhoods surrounding each participating school.

“A concern expressed by almost every emergency department physician at our local hospital is the safety of youth traveling on bicycles throughout town,” says Julie McFadden, Trauma Services Manager at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. “By providing engaging and impactful education, RCR is helping our youth understand the rules of the road and of wearing their helmets when on their bicycle.”
In the spring of 2022, Routt County Riders launched the Street Smarts for 6th Grade bike safety program during the school day alongside partners at Steamboat Springs Middle School. The program grew out of a strong community desire to see safer bike commuting practices demonstrated by middle school (and older) students. This program continued into May 2023, where nearly 300 middle schoolers at Steamboat Springs Middle School, Sleeping Giant Middle School and Hayden Valley Middle School were given the opportunity to ride bikes around the schools’ neighborhoods in small groups led by volunteers, teachers, and Community Safety Officers. Students participated in a scenario-based learning experience covering the following topics in depth: Check Your Gear, Follow the Rules of the Road, Know Your E-Bike, See the Signs, and Respect the Trail Triangle. Students without riding skills were able to participate in a Learn-to-Ride curriculum facilitated by SBT GRVL staff and volunteers.  “The high point for me was seeing our Learn-to-Ride participants connect the dots and make these strides towards building confidence,” says Greer Van Dyck, SBT GRVL Director of Community Relations. “It was so inspiring to see them work through challenges and fears.” We aim to continue growing this programming into 2024 and to eventually offer this program to as many middle schools in Routt County as possible.

This May, the key partners noted above will coordinate curriculum to be presented on bikes by teams of facilitators alongside small ‘pods’ of students, many of whom will bring their own bike and helmet to school for session days. The Cycle Effect will be on-site during much of the program to outfit students lacking the proper equipment with loaner gear for their session and perform safety checks. We will also have members of RCR’s Bike Match program for on-site bike repairs and to match bikes with students (and administrators) in need. Donated helmets are being provided in part by Children’s Hospital Colorado. “In addition to providing essential safety skills for kids already riding bikes to school and around town, this program opens doors to kids who have not had an opportunity to ride before,” says Helen Beall, Routt Program Manager for The Cycle Effect. “By providing coaching, helmets, and the possibility of equipment to keep through Bike Match, we can be confident that kids who were not riding before this program will be riding bikes afterward.”

Eventually, it is the aim of partners to both grow and improve this program throughout all of Routt County, and also to ensure that each and every middle school-aged student in the Steamboat vicinity has access to a bike. It is expected that RCR and partners can continue to work together with schools and the RCR Bike Match program to accomplish this goal in the future. If you have a gently used kids bike you would consider donating to the program, or if you or your family are in need of a bike yourselves, contact Matthew Rochon, RCR Community Outreach Program Manager, at matthew@routtcountyriders.org. For all other program inquiries, or to volunteer for Street Smarts, please contact lucy@routtcountyriders.org or sign up directly at https://forms.gle/U5HXDBg1RziCvMG7A.