The first Wednesday in October is always International Walk or Bike to School Day! This time we took it to the street with the first annual “Wilday Ride”, a 4 mile road ride around the Grace Wilday School neighborhood!
Working again with the Grace Wilday Junior High School in Roselle, we added a new partner, the Roselle Police Department. We took Safe Cycling education up a notch by conducting an actual road ride, on open streets around the school neighborhood. The key was working with a very supportive Principle, Dr. Falaise, who’s “can do” attitude and cooperation of the Roselle Police Department made this possible.
Dr. Falaise is quick to say “YES” and find a way to make things happen. This has made offering safe cycling programs at Grace Wilday most successful. We started off with the A, B, C Quick Check to make sure bikes were road ready. Next we made sure all the riders were supplied a helmet if they did not have one. Then we made sure the riders themselves were “road ready” with a few parking lot drills to cover the basics. After screening roughly 20 riders, we were able to venture out into the streets, following a unique 2 mile road loop, (twice), which included almost all right hand turns, minimizing exposure to crossing traffic. With a police escort, we obeyed traffic law by stopping at stop signs and staying to the right. With a police escort, we also had the extra security of knowing we had motorist attention.
With International Walk or Ride to School Day established in the school calendar and a successful example of an event which encourages young students to ride their bike, we will work to build on this success and spread it to other schools.