BikeMN was recently awarded a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health, a portion of which was used to secure two new adaptive bicycles to add to our adaptive bicycle fleet in support of our Walk! Bike! Fun! Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Curriculum. Walk! Bike! Fun! is designed for physical education teachers, health teachers, and other educators and community members to help students learn safety tips and skills that will last them a lifetime. Walk! Bike! Fun! helps children ages 5 to 13 learn traffic rules and regulations, the potential hazards to traveling, and handling skills needed to bike and walk effectively, appropriately, and safely through their community. The launch of the newly updated curriculum and adaptive bike fleet use opportunities is another important step Minnesota is taking to expand access to physical activity opportunities for students of all abilities.
Adaptive bicycles can be requested by educators and schools that have completed the Walk! Bike! Fun! Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Curriculum Educator Training on our Walk! Bike! Fun! Webpage, walkbikefun.org/fleets. The Curriculum was the first in the nation to be adapted for youth with disabilities in 2019. Once an educator completes a Walk! Bike! Fun! Educator training, they are able to request a variety of technical assistance to support their classroom’s learning. BikeMN provides basic bike maintenance training, adaptive and non-adaptive bike fleet rentals, and co-teaching with trained educators to support classroom and on-bike education across Minnesota.
“Our recumbent trike and wheelchair tandem really help round out our current adaptive fleet,” Angela Olson, BikeMN’s Education Director said, “I’m so thrilled we were able to expand our offerings with this funding. Combined with our Adaptive Toolkit, we are really making strides to be able to provide all students access to safe biking, walking, and rolling.”
To date, BikeMN has developed, organized, and conducted more than 70 educator trainings and distributed hundreds of copies of the curriculum. In non-pandemic years, BikeMN’s bicycle fleets serve around 15,000 students per academic year. BikeMN’s adaptive bicycle fleet furthers our goal to help students will learn traffic rules, be able to identify and respond to potential hazards and learn important handling skills needed to walk and bike safely for transportation, physical activity, and fun.
BikeMN, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the Minnesota Department of Health, alongside educators across Minnesota, are dedicated to ensuring all children can ride a bike to improve their mobility, exercise, also for the simple pleasure of riding a bicycle. Multiple organizations have worked together to develop the adaptive toolkit for the Walk! Bike! Fun! Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Curriculum. Collaborating organizations include MDH, Olmsted County Public Health, PartnerSHIP 4 Health, Courage Kenny Institute, Minneapolis Public Schools, the Bike Alliance of Minnesota, Twin Cities Adaptive Cycling, and Blue Earth County Public Health and schools.