British Columbia

Bike to School Week gets kids out of cars and into cycling

It's Bike to School and Bike to Work Week in Metro Vancouver and hundreds of elementary school children have been brushing up on their cycling skills.

Free events happening throughout Metro Vancouver this week to promote cycling

Students at Strathcona Elementary School learn to navigate a roundabout during Bike to School Week. (CBC)

It's Bike to School and Bike to Work Week in Metro Vancouver and hundreds of elementary school children have been brushing up on their road skills to learn to navigate the streets safely.

Over the last few weeks, HUB has been holding several workshops to get young cyclists familiar with the rules of the road, from to how to properly wear a helmet to navigating roundabouts.

"They're learning about bike handling skills and a little bit about traffic safety and they're also building their confidence in riding on the streets," said Lorraine Smith, a HUB cycling safety inspector.

What does a yield sign mean?

Smith says the workshops allow kids to learn the rules of the road and practise skills in a safe environment.

"They don't really know what to do in the intersection. A lot of kids these days are in the back seat playing video games and they are actually not getting basic traffic information," said Smith.

"They aren't asking the questions, 'What does a yield sign mean?' and 'Why did you just stop there Mom?'"

"I think there is a lot of value in learning traffic rules this way. They are told so many things, so it's so nice they are learning by doing."

Learning to look behind you

For some of the young students, the workshop was their first formal training. But for others, the lesson was a welcome refresher for what their parents already taught them.

"I'm actually learning how to look behind my shoulder and see who is there, so there isn't any crash," said a Strathcona Elementary student.

"I didn't learn much new, because I already knew it, but I haven't done it in a while so they helped me do it again."

Smith hopes by introducing kids to safe biking at an early age, it will create lifelong cyclists.

"I see that they get excited and they want to ride their bike to school after being here and I think what we teach them is so important, even respecting stop signs," said Smith. 

To hear the full story, listen to the audio labelled Kids learn bike rules

With files from Jennifer Chen


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