How might we excite middle schoolers about becoming advocates for bike safety?
A group of One Stone students spent their summer researching an issue often in the news in the Treasure Valley: bike safety. Since 2007, there have been 1,195 bicycle crashes — including 11 fatalities — in Ada County. Speaking to experts in the community including Boise Bicycle Project, Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance, Idaho Mountain Touring, and Idaho Walk Bike Alliance, the team realized younger students who often ride their bikes to and from school could benefit from learning how to keep themselves safe from accidents involving cars.
During the ideating stage of the design thinking process, the Bike Safety team recognized that a common theme in accidents involving kids was a lack of visibility during dark hours when kids ride their bikes to and from school.
The team partnered with Mrs. Johnson’s 6th grade class at Riverside Elementary, where the majority of students ride their bikes, for an interactive event called, “Reflect Yourself!” The One Stone team began by gathering the 6th graders into the gym where they could see the difference in how much time it takes cars to stop for pedestrians that are easily visible due to bright and reflective clothing compared to those that are wearing all dark colors.
After seeing for themselves how much of a difference wearing reflective materials makes during times of low visibility, the 6th graders were given reflective tape and key chains to decorate their backpacks, helmets and bikes. Safe Routes to Schools donated front and rear bicycle lights for each student and the class received pamphlets that the team created about safety tips for riding at night.
50 yards of reflective tape adhered to bikes, clothes, helmets
60 bike lights distributed
28 6th graders - increased bike safety - check!
What did participants have to say in their own words?
“My favorite part of this activity was decorating our helmets with reflective tape and talking with the cool and funny high school students.”
“I learned that it takes drivers a long time to stop if they don’t see you. That’s why it’s so important to have reflective gear on!”
“I will wear my helmet more because now it is so blinged out!”
"Thank you for teaching us about bike safety. The reflective tape makes me feel safer at night."
"You made my backpack WAY cooler!"
In the students’ own words:
“A few days after the project, I was driving on ParkCenter, and I saw one of the 6th grade students with their backpacks decked out! It was great to see our project having an impact so quickly and one that was close to my community. Later that week I saw another kid walking around downtown at night who also had their backpack blinged out with reflective tape. It was awesome to see that the kids took our project to heart and changed their habits because of it.”