Willows kids wheel into school

Bike ‘roadeo’ teaches students about riding safely and keeping bikes in tip top shape

Parent volunteer Casey Mawson pretends to cross the street in a crosswalk while 9-year-old Zaya Fehr makes the appropriate signal

Parent volunteer Casey Mawson pretends to cross the street in a crosswalk while 9-year-old Zaya Fehr makes the appropriate signal

In preparation for Victoria’s Bike to Work Week, May 28 to June 3, Willows elementary students strapped on their helmets and took a course in road safety with the Oak Bay police on May 16.

“We want to encourage kids to ride their bikes to school and get their parents out there too,” said Willows principal Wendy Holob.

Nearly 100 Grade 4 students made their way around the course, learning hand signals and what to watch out for on the roads. Police also did bike and helmet safety checks.

“It’s an initiative of our PAC. This year’s PAC looked at starting this as an annual thing that we can do before Bike to Work week,” she said.

The parent group has put a lot of energy into bringing the cycling safety program to the school this year. “It’s an ongoing initiative,” said PAC co-chair Carolyn Kroeber. “We put in five (new bike racks) last year thanks to a kind donation from the Kiwanis (Club).”

“The PAC has put real effort into getting more bike racks,” Holob said. “The municipality purchased extra bike racks last year for us. One of the problems is we don’t have enough racks for all the kids to (ride) their bikes in.”

The PAC is adding to the stock of bike racks, bringing in an additional 10 sets this year. “With the municipality and the PAC adding racks this year, more and more children have a place to lock up their bikes,” said Holob.

Traffic is always a problem around the school, said Kroeber. “For people living in the area it would be nice to reduce the traffic.”

With that and the safety lesson combined, “we can put the push on for students to walk or wheel to school,” Holob said.