By Dorian Grilley, Executive Director
May 15, 2020
[MINNEAPOLIS, MN] — Today, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN), along with Minnesota Safe Routes to School and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) released distance learning guides in English, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish, focused on safe walking and bicycling for educators, students, and families. The Walk! Bike! Fun! Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety curriculum aims to teach children ages five to 13 skills to walking and biking safely, and the distance learning guides include a variety of methods to complete the lessons and activities depending on access to resources like a bicycle or a printer.
“Kids across Minnesota deserve to learn how to safely walk or ride a bicycle in their community as part of staying active during these challenging times and after,” said MNDOT Commissioner, Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “MNDOT will continue working with the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota to expand resources for families who want to safely bike, walk, and get outside.”
“The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and MN Safe Routes to School have worked hard to make this curriculum accessible for kids and their families as well as teachers. I hope families across Minnesota can use these guides to get outside safely,” said Dorian Grilley, Executive Director of BikeMN.
In March, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota successfully urged Governor Walz and his Administration to consider outdoor activities including biking and walking as essential activities and bicycle shops and distribution facilities as essential businesses throughout Emergency Executive Order 20-20. As more Minnesotans, and youth, use bicycling and walking for essential transportation, and to maintain their health and well being throughout the Executive Order, BikeMN aims to provide students and families with the skills and confidence to maneuver on the streets safely.
“During this time of social distancing, there have been a lot of changes for schools, students and families. Like teachers across Minnesota, we have been focusing on how to deliver effective distance learning materials that serve teachers, and help students learn and be active. Walk! Bike! Fun! does just that — helping teachers teach, and giving students and families the opportunities to learn how to walk or ride their bikes safely and comfortably,” said Michelle Kiefer, Safe Routes to School Program Manager with BikeMN.
The Walk! Bike! Fun! Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety program’s main audience is elementary school teachers and the main goal is teaching kids safe walking and biking skills. According to a BikeMN survey in 2019, the curriculum was being used by over 800 educators and reached over 70,000 kids per year when school was in session. The new activities and lessons, posted in Spanish, Somali, Hmong, and English, can also be used by parents as fun outdoor activities to do with their children.
The distance learning curriculum students can learn traffic rules, a quick safety check for their bike, how to ensure their helmet is properly fitted, and other skills needed to walk and bike safely through their community. The outside lessons offer options for students to walk, bike, or roll so they don’t need a bike to get moving. BikeMN will keep working with others implementing the curriculum to ensure all Minnesotans–including those without access to reliable internet connections–can access these resources. The Walk Fun! and Bike Fun! Student guides are available for free in Hmong, Somali, Spanish, and English by visiting the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota website.
More about BikeMN:
The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN) is working to make Minnesota a place where bicycling is easy, safe, and fun for everyone. The mission of BikeMN is to unite and strengthen bicycle advocacy, provide education, and work for a more bicycle friendly Minnesota. Visit www.bikemn.org for more.