Lace up those boots and get pumped!
Safe Routes to Schools has a host of activities planned for 2022
Wednesday, January 25, 2022, 11 a.m – 1 p.m. Parent volunteers will hear all about action inspired events for walkers and rollers on a Zoom call. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the link.
Come learn what’s in store and meet like-minded volunteers who passionately share the joy of promoting walking and rolling to school communities.
Second semester materials, guidebooks and incentives will be distributed. RSVP: Cooper@marinbike.org
Exciting Walk and Roll Opportunities in 2022!
Walk and Roll Wednesdays will continue with monthly themes celebrating Valentine’s Day in February and Pi(e) Day in March. These events are typically held on the first Wednesday of the month, but event days may vary depending on what works best for individual schools and the volunteers that host them.
A Spring Challenge will be launched in April to get students in the habit of walking and rolling to school regularly. There will be an assortment of fun raffle prizes and accolades for the student winners.
National Bike to School Day is on May 4th this year. Safe Routes is developing some fun May the FOURTH Be With You themed promotional materials to celebrate the event. Maybe Yoda will be seen biking to school that day.
Annual Bike Hero Contest! For the 5th year, Safe Routes will invite schools, parents and friends to nominate their Bike Hero – a student who is a good “roll model” for safe riding and encouraging others to ride to school. Nominations open in May.
Family Biking Education will continue with both FREE virtual and in-person instruction to help students and their parents learn the rules of the road and strategies to build confident cyclists. February 24, 6:00 -7:00 p.m. (Virtual) Registration Required; Other Dates TBD
Parent BIKE Education Night! In March, Mill Valley School District is hosting Marin’s first ever Parent Bike Ed. Night. The one-hour presentation covers the rules of the road that govern cycling behavior so parents can best demonstrate and train their own children. Content used to teach Safe Routes’ elementary through middle school bike classes will be shown. Share the Road classes appropriate for High School parents and teens can also be requested. Parent Ed. Night can be scheduled at other schools through Peggy@marinbike.org.
Safe Routes to Schools is on track to break a new record. Over 10,000 students will have taken its pedestrian and bicycle safety classes by June of 2022. This goal seems attainable because its instructors have taught 170 classes to 5,239 children since in-person teaching restarted, just four months ago.
The majority of the Safe Routes curriculum focuses on grades 2-6, providing in-class instruction as well as walking field trips and blacktop bike rodeos through schools’ PE departments. These lessons are essential to students learning how to safely navigate streets, make smart decisions, and treat all Marin residents with respect. We’ve even been able to provide “make-up classes” for students who Safe Routes didn’t get to instruct last year during the height of the pandemic. If you think your student may have missed out on in-person pedestrian and bike safety teaching last year, contact our Scheduling Coordinator, Peggy Clark (email@example.com). We also offer Share the Road classes for high school students
Safe Routes to Schools also has a partnership with the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, which implemented a “receive a bike” program called Cory’s Ride this year. Working with high school students over the course of 12 months, the goal of this program is to provide the joy and benefits of cycling to youth who might not otherwise have the opportunity. 16 students have already finished the classroom component (6 classes) and are on their way towards getting to keep their bicycles, helmets, and gear which will be completed with on-the bike training.
On December 13, Olive Elementary students Sofía Bermúdez, a kindergartener, and Kaylee Perry, a fifth grader, were Mayors of the City of Novato for a day. To win this grand prize, both students won a raffle conducted among Olive’s students who walked or rolled to school every day in October.
Novato’s Mayor, Pat Eklund, proposed the idea when she hosted a Safe Routes to Schools welcome table at Olive Elementary in October. The Mayor, a long-time Safe Routes supporter, hosted the students for a tour of the police station, the city offices, and City Hall. Mayor Eklund also made arrangements for Sofia and Kaylee to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the commencement of the City Council meeting the next day.
During their visit, Captain Sasha D’Amico offered the students and their parents a tour of the Police Department. She introduced the group to Police Chief, Matthew McCaffery, and explained to them the day-to-day operations of the police force, including the work performed by 911 dispatchers. At the City Building, Sofia and Kaylee met Assistant City Manager, Jessica Deakyne, who talked about the nature of her job and, in general, about what it means to be a “public servant.”
The experience ended with both children sitting at the Mayor’s desk at the City Council Chambers and using the gavel, which was not surprisingly, a highlight of the day.
Kent Middle School’s Eco-Action Club came up with u Walk – u Blend! as a follow up on iWalk (International Walk to School Day). Students who walked or biked to school on Nov. 10th could blend their own smoothies using our bicycle powered blender. It took all 10 Eco-Action club members, working at a non-stop pace, to serve 170 smoothies in a mere 30 minutes before the first bell. The club puts on monthly events to encourage more walking and biking. They chose to do the bike blender event in the winter because in the Spring and Fall there are even more Walkers and Bikers – almost 55% of the school gets there actively. That’s healthy living!
The winter season has arrived and that means lower temperatures, shorter days, and likely more precipitation, yet a few tweaks to your bikes and gear can let you coast through the winter months as we await those nice long and warm days of spring and summer. Here are some top tips to ace the winter season and continue to enjoy your bike!
The brighter your lights, the safer your ride. A clip-on red blinking tail light in addition to a handlebar-mounted headlight will light the way and allow drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists to see you coming. Turn them on in the early commute hours and prior to sunset when low light makes motorists’ visibility challenging. The USB rechargeable type is easy to use and worth the investment for longevity. Your local bike shop should have a variety including commuter lights and more powerful lights for mountain biking.
Protect your bike from rain, puddles and moisture.After a ride, give your bike a wipe down with a rag and apply chain lubricant after every half dozen rides or so to protect it from rust. Most chain lube brands come in either a wet or dry mix. Wet is ideal for winter and you can use the dry version for the summer months. A little bit of chain lube goes a long way towards protecting your chain and gears from rust.
Keep the chill at bay. A windproof outer layer blocks the wind and keeps your core temps warm. Hands held in the same position on the bike can get really cold with lack of circulation. Full fingered gloves keep your digits toasty. Pay attention to get the proper fit so you can still safely pull the brake levers and shift your gears.
Concerned With Safety?
The Task Force Meeting is the place to bring your observations so decision makers can help resolve concerns along routes to schools.
Online Task Force meetings are scheduled three times per year for each school district. Contact Wendi Kallins at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your district’s winter and spring Zoom links.
New West Marin Task Force
Safe Routes to Schools launched a new West Marin Task Force for Bolinas, Shoreline, and Lagunitas School Districts. With Zoom technology, we are now able to bring people in these unincorporated communities together, saving the time and hassle of traveling long distances to a meeting. We now have nine district Task Forces covering most of Marin County. All Safe Routes Task Forces will be developing new District Travel Plans, revamping the ones developed a decade ago.
Safe Routes is also creating “dot maps” from each district to graphically show where students live in proximity to the schools. This new tool enables us to determine how many students live within walking and biking distance in order to shape programs based on that information.
The Task Force schedule for the winter:
• Ross Valley Friday January 14, 10 am
• Kentfield – Thursday Jan 20, 9:30 am
• San Rafael – Tuesday January 25, 5 pm
• Tiburon – Friday January 28, 10 am
• Novato – Thursday Feb 3, 5 pm
• West Marin – Monday February 7, 7 pm
• Sausalito – Thursday Feb 10, 9:30 am
• Mill Valley – Wednesday February 16, 9:30
• Larkspur – Thursday Feb 17, 3:30
If you would like to participate in a Safe Routes to Schools Task Force contact Wendi Kallins email@example.com
On November 5, 2021, the House passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and has now been signed into law. This bill includes historic funding levels and significant policy changes to make investments in connected streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, and Safe Routes to School, and to make those funding decisions more equitable by prioritizing neighborhoods and communities made vulnerable by historical and contemporary policy and funding decisions. It restores the Safe Routes to Schools Program as a separate line item, albeit without designated funding. Colloquially referred to as “the infrastructure bill”, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 is a monumental investment in the safety and support of people walking and bicycling.
Last September, the town of Corte Madera widened Paradise Drive’s sidewalk near the Mariner Cove Neighborhood. The expansion covers the north side of San Clemente Drive to Seawolf Passage, directly across from Corte Madera’s Nugget Market, and extends the previously four foot wide path to eight feet.
The Larkspur/Corte Madera’s Safe Routes to Schools Task Force submitted a request for the widening in 2015. The Town of Corte Madera received a federal One Bay Area Grant for $595,000. After almost six years of designing, the construction for the new sidewalk officially began on June 31, 2021.
Redwood High School student Shyla Lensing reported on the project in the September issue of the Redwood Bark
Last November, dozens of students from the Sausalito School District walked to class to honor Ruby Bridges. Over six decades ago, Bridges, an African-American girl defied the prevalent segregation in the United States by showing up every day to an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. With her act of courage, Ruby attained the unimaginable: the eventual integration of the school.
In preparation for the event, Bayside MLK teachers each read a book to their students about Ruby Bridges. Children were instructed to go to the welcome table in the front of school to receive bookmarks, stickers and other incentives to commemorate Ruby, who is today, one of the most important civil rights activists still alive.
Welcoming the students to school on November 17th were parent volunteers and their kids joined by Vicki Nicols from Age Friendly Sausalito; Doreen Gounard, Aide to Supervisor Stephanie Moulton-Peters; Molly Graham from the Transportation Authority of Marin; and Gwen Froh from Safe Routes to Schools.
Photo – Principal David Finnane rallies students to celebrate Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day.
Right before the pandemic, Heather Crossen, a mom of two from Venetia Valley School, put her older child on a bike and her little one on a scooter and followed them, jogging at times, on their way to class. Convinced that biking to school is good for their health and for the planet, she totally ditched the car for their commute to school.
When it was getting harder for Heather to keep up with her son, Zimry Vargas, a second grader, and daughter Zainy Vargas, a TK student, she got herself a bike. Later on, her daughter said she wanted to bike too, so the parents got her a bike and taught her to ride without training wheels. At just age four, Zainy was a fast learner and very skillfully follows her brother and mom for about a mile from their home to Venetia Valley. Because the school has few bikers, the three of them have become an example to others.
Not even adversity has deterred this family from their goal to use active travel. . A few months ago, Zimry’s brand-new bike (shown in the picture) was stolen from the entrance of their home. Heather asked people via social media to donate a used bike and was offered one in very good condition that Zimry is now using.
As her interest for green travel grew, the mom decided to volunteer her time to Safe Routes to Schools’ events at Venetia Valley. She has offered fresh ideas and additional energy to an already growing program in the school.
Every year, hundreds of bicycles are stolen in Marin. Local law enforcement work diligently around the county and state to recover lost or stolen bicycles. Take a moment to register your bicycle as that is the quickest way for you to get it back in the event the police recover it. Registered property may also deter theft due to resale difficulties.
Do an online search for bike registration in your town or city. Each jurisdiction is different, however all law enforcement must enter every bike’s serial number into the statewide Automated Property System which reunites people with bikes as soon as they issue a police report. That means that if your bike is stolen in Marin but police find it in Modesto, you can get it back. The serial number is the key to matching bikes entered into the system with its rightful owner. In addition to registering your bike, take photos of your bike and save the original sales receipt in the event that you need to file a report.
The San Rafael Police Department uses an online registration form for local residents. Upon registration, the police department sends out a bike sticker with contact information linking the bike to the original owner. For Mill Valley residents, here is the registration form. The Sherrifs’ Department also provides registration services. The Novato Police Department uses a National Bicycle Recovery program called 529 Garage. 529 Garage and the non-profit Bike Index are gaining in popularity because they service beyond local jurisdictions. Since the services are free, signing up on multiple sites is just a matter of taking the time to do so.
Where is my bicycle serial number? Most serial numbers are located under the bottom bracket where the two pedal cranks meet. Turn your bike upside down and record the number.