Jul 11

Allentown Bureau of Health brings BikeEd to Trexler Middle School

The Allentown School District, the Allentown Bureau of Health and CAT-Coalition for Appropriate Transportation worked together during June to bring professional bicycle education to Trexler Middle School. The event was a new effort to help those students currently biking to school in Allentown improve their level of safety.
For the first time, a principal in the Allentown School District allowed League of American Bicyclists certified Cycling Instructors (LCIs) into his school. LCIs Brian Sherry and myself provided helmets, helmet fittings, information about helmets and Pennsylvania Bicycle Drivers Manuals to 11 students, roughly 3/4 of the cyclists who currently bike to Trexler Middle School. We also had informal conversation with the students, talking about biking in traffic, and introducing the idea that education can help them feel more confident while reducing the risk of problems. We did all that despite having less than 3 weeks to work on the program before the end of the schoolyear.  All this was made possible by the dedicated efforts of Donna Forsythe, theschool librarian, arranging all the details and working tirelessly to overcome all obstacles to get the students in front of the instructors.
The district and the school were willing to allow on-the-road instruction for students currently biking to school, another first for the Allentown School District. Unfortunately, primarily because Allentown School District fired 99 teachers the same day we started the program, we could not get, on such short notice, the prerequisite permission slips from parents/guardians.  As a result we could not work with the students on their bikes.  
However, the program’s success has generated enthusiasm for resuming our efforts in the Fall when Trexler Middle School reopens.We look forward to working with Donna Forsythe, the Allentown Health Bureau and the cyclists at Trexler Middle School, in the years to come, in order to craft a program to improve the safety of those students who ride their bikes to school.

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