Local, News — April 12, 2019 at 1:58 pm

Bike MN promotes safe biking for kids

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The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota promotes pedestrian safety for children around the state to find a safe route to school and as a fun mode of transportation by bike or on foot. It is their goal to get more people to ride bicycles and stay healthy along with getting everyone to enjoy it.

“We do bicycle advocacy, encouragement and education and our goal is to make Minnesota a place where bicycling is easy, safe and fun for everyone,” Bike MN education coordinator CJ Lindor said.

This program put on by Bike MN strives to have pedestrian safety across the state of Minnesota and they’re working with other adults from various recreation and education facilities from the St. Cloud area to teach children on how to ride their bikes safely.

“I just think it’s great that these opportunities are made available, training the trainers and then I can pass that along to other people that work with me through the city or community education and spread the word through social media,” City of Big Lake Recreation Coordinator Corrie Scott said.

The program put on by the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota called “Walk! Bike! Fun!” is a project that they created in order to get more kids to ride their bikes which will ultimately lead to more events around communities. It also is a program that teaches adults different safety precautions that everyone should know before they get on a bike so that everyone is safe.

“We know that there’s events coming up for example Bicycle rodeos in the communities around us here and these trainings that we’re having we’ll be able to give people the skills and knowledge they need to teach people how to use bikes and how to know the rules of the road while they’re doing that,” Centra Care Health Specialist Hannah Dockendorf said.

Bicycle training session at Eastside Boys and Girls Club in St. Cloud.

This Walk! Bike! Fun! training session took place on April 10 at the Eastside Boys and Girls Club in St. Cloud to spread the word about biking and pedestrian safety. Bike MN goes around to different educational facilities around the state to train various adult educators about bicycle safety for kids who may not already ride their bikes to school or use it as a mode of transportation.

“With the club, one of our core focuses is safety, both physical and emotional and really, truly this is a great opportunity to learn how to safely do things and not only as an educator, but also to that trickle down effect for safe biking in Minnesota,” Eastside Boys and Girls club director Tony Bown said.

Lindor said that kids who ride their bikes regularly and exercise on a daily basis tend to have better mental health, work harder in school, have less problems with behaviour and ultimately become better students when they are active.

“Kids who are active also do better when they arrive to school, they have better test scores, they have better attention, fewer behaviour issues, so there’s real academic benefits for being physically active,” he said.

He also stressed the importance of getting more and more people around the state to ride their bikes so that there is overall more respect for bikers and everyone is sharing the roadways. That’s why Bike MN goes around to different parts of the state trying to tell folks about the positive outcomes that come from exercise and bicycle transportation.

“In order to be effective at our work it’s really critical that we can maintain and work with other organizations and individuals that are serving community interests,” Lindor said. “One of the things that excites me most about this program is the potential for long term cultural change in how people think about and act on our public roadways.”

However, riding bikes isn’t only about fun and safety as there are many people in the world who may only ride a bicycle as their main mode of transportation, which is what the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota is hoping to accomplish.

“Maybe a bike or walking is their only way to get around, maybe they can’t afford a vehicle, so we want to be able to make sure that both drivers and bicyclists and pedestrians all know the rules of the road so they can kind of respect each other when they’re all riding and walking together out there,” Dockendorf said.

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