Cascade Bicycle Club has been providing youth bike education to students in the Seattle and Edmonds School Districts since 2016, teaching upward of 25,000 Puget Sound-area children bike and pedestrian safety skills to begin their lifelong joy of safe bicycling and walking. Now, that curriculum is expanding statewide thanks to the creation of the School-Based Bicycle Safety Education Program administered by the Washington State Department of Transportation, which selected Cascade to design and implement this expansion.
Cascade said it is is working with educators across the state to implement the statewide bike education programs, which will phase in over 16 years and are expected to reach 90% of Washington state students by 2039. Cascade is prioritizing partners who serve communities where equity, safety and community plans point to the highest needs.
Cascade’s school-based bicycle and pedestrian safety program is funded through Washington state’s Climate Commitment Act, which includes $1.3 billion for protected bike lanes, multi-use trails, Safe Routes to Schools, biking and walking infrastructure, and statewide public school bike education.
In the pilot year of the program (2023-2024 school year), Cascade said it has partnered with six large school districts: Spokane, Tacoma, Bellingham, Highline, Everett and Vancouver, and two Education Service Districts (ESD): North Central Educational Service District 171 and Northwest Educational Service District 189. These partner districts are planning to implement the program through physical education classes in over 45 schools across Washington state.
The Edmonds School District’s “Let’s Go” bicycle program operates in all elementary and middle schools within the city, serving students in grades 3 through 8. The program provides district physical education teachers with a five-lesson elementary school in-class bike and pedestrian safety curriculum and an eight-lesson middle school in-class bike and pedestrian safety curriculum. Cascade maintains and delivers all bike fleets, helmets, and curriculum materials. Additionally, Cascade provides in-class support and teacher training.
Volunteers from the Edmonds Bicycle Advocacy Group (EBAG) also play a key role in supporting the project.
“We have been so fortunate to have this program happening in our elementary and middle schools in PE over the years and it wouldn’t have happened without the encouragement, support and passion from the EBAG members,” said Jenni MCloughan, who oversees the program for the Edmonds School District. “The bicycle education program has led us to implement pedestrian education in second grade in our PE classes. Hopefully these (statewide) programs will stress the importance of riding, walking, and driving safely out on the roads in our community along with a lifelong enjoyment of cycling and walking!”
Learn more about the statewide program here.