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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

Bike Smart-Grow Smart: Safety & Instruction for Youth

Bike Smart-Grow Smart provides bicycle safety instruction to youth in Raleigh.

Bike Smart-Grow Smart provides bicycle safety instruction to youth in Raleigh.

“If children are riding on the greenway or in their neighborhood, we talk about how to do that safely. If they are riding to school, we talk about how they can choose their routes to get to school safely,” said Scott Naeser, a former Wake County Public Schools teacher and a member of the Bike Smart-Grow Smart group.

Bike Smart-Grow Smart is comprised of a unique team of professional educators and advocates who are bicycle safety master instructors, certified by the American League of Bicyclists, and they are providing bicycle safety education both outside where youth ride and in the classroom.

“The instruction is age appropriate, and also addresses the benefits of physical activity and nutrition,” he continued. “If children are going to ride safely, they have to be nutritionally sound—they need fuel for riding and hydration, This is all part of what we talk about–proper clothing, helmets and eye protection, and so forth.”

Last month, Bike Smart-Grow Smart instructors helped facilitate two bike safety events in Raleigh:  first on August 12 in partnership with the Southeast Raleigh Assembly (SERA) and on Aug. 23 in partnership with the City of Raleigh and the Leesville Community Safety Group at the campus of the Leesville Elementary, Middle and High Schools for a Back to School Safety Day.

For the event in Southeast Raleigh, the Bike Smart-Grow Smart team taught about 20 elementary-school aged children in SERA’s mentoring program all about stopping and starting in a straight line, using gears, scanning and a balance control exercise, as well as how biking is part of a healthy lifestyle. Safe Kids Wake County donated new helmets to the children.

bike smart close upThe year-round mentoring program is only a half-mile from one of Raleigh’s greenways, and SERA’s Angela Jackson was concerned that young participants would be riding on the greenway and in the area without having been trained with safety in mind and wanted to combine this education with a wellness event for the youth. Bike Smart-Grow Smart also has plans to teach these skills to about 30 high schoolers in the SERA mentoring program. In fact, SERA and Bike Smart-Grow Smart are discussing how they can work together on a long-term basis after school or on weekends.

The Back to School Safety Day at the Leesville campus featured bicycle and pedestrian safety education as well, and was highlighted in this WRAL clip. High school students helped design the stages for the training and were integral to monitoring and teaching the beginning bicyclists how to ride. Naeser said it was great to see the community and parents working diligently to show their families how to ride safely and live a healthy life.  

Seeking Bike Donations!

“We are seeking donations of bicycles from the community so that we can teach the children how to maintain and repair the bicycles, and then give them the bikes when they complete the course,” Naeser said. “So we invite anyone whose children have outgrown their bikes, or whose children’s bikes are collecting dust in the garage, to contact us via the Bike Smart-Grow Smart website about bicycle donations.”

Bringing Training to You

The Bike Smart-Grow Smart team of master instructors and educators is available to assist the municipalities, schools and community organizations in Wake County with bicycle safety and healthy lifestyles education. Contact Bike Smart-Grow Smart through its website to learn more.

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