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Education is the Best Advocacy
: Focus on the Texas SuperCyclist Project
: Getting SuperCyclist Started
: Nuts and Spokes: How It All Works
: Knowing Your Age
: Keeping Your Head on Straight — Teaching Helmet Safety
: SuperCyclists, Super Challenges: The First Hurdle
: Second Super Hurdle: Generating Interest
: Arm Yourself With the Facts
: Keeping It All in Stride

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Resources for this article:

Texas Bicycling Coalition

Texas SuperCyclist Project

From A to Z by Bike: the Comprehensive Guide to Safe Bicycling for Kids and Adults
Available from AMC Media Corporation, Box 33852, Station D, Vancouver, BC V6J 4L6. A brief pamphlet for non-cycling teachers or adults who want to educate young cyclists.

Effective Cycling
by John Forester, 6th Edition. Available from MIT Press.

Bike Safety materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Education is the Best Advocacy:
Focus on the Texas SuperCyclist Project

By Rebecca Johnson
page 3

Nuts and Spokes: How It All Works

  Instructors and students maneuver through a SuperCyclist safety course during the on-bike training stage.
School district by school district, Tyree and his colleagues, with the aid of League of American Bicyclists-certified safety instructors, take their safety curriculum and provide hands-on training to physical education teachers across Texas.

Once the physical education teachers have completed training, they can begin teaching fundamentals of bicycling safety to their 4th and 5th grade P.E. students. Thus far 1200 teachers have been trained, and another 1200 will be trained as of September 2001. That leaves only an additional 1200 to go in order to meet the coalition's original three-year goal.

Because teacher and student training costs are supplemented by federal traffic safety funds, as well as private corporate donations, the cost to the school and the student is free, ensuring that every student in these school systems will be exposed to bicycle safety education.

"We create the pieces to take to the teachers, the actual curriculum," Tyree says. "There's no additional cost to the school except copying the resource guide handouts."

"...everyone gets a chance to use what they've learned in the classroom, in practice."

The Texas SuperCyclist Project curriculum is a short-term program based on the now-classic 1977 book, Effective Cycling, originally written by John Forester, who taught the first adult vehicular cycling class in 1974.

The adopted curriculum operates within five different modules: obeying rules of the road, bicycle maintenance, making choices in the face of hazards, safety and visibility, and on-bike training.

The first four modules are taught in the classroom, through a variety of lessons, demonstrations, and handouts. "When we get to the on-bike training stage," Tyree says, "we have the students bring in their own bicycles, along with signed waivers from their parents."

Although the SuperCyclist project is not financially able to provide bicycles for the hands-on stage of the game, they emphasize that every student with parental permission has an opportunity to test his or her on-bike skills: "Even if we get to a class where only one or two students owns a bike, we'll let all the kids share the bike, so that everyone gets a chance to use what they've learned in the classroom, in practice."

And even after P.E. class has ended for the day, safety education continues. Without taking time away from other equally worthwhile school subjects, the SuperCyclist program offers teachers methods and ideas to reinforce bicycling education in other school subjects. The SuperCyclist curriculum includes math problems that demonstrate questions of cycling safety, as well as opportunities to have kids hone their writing and speaking skills to address cycling topics. Bicycling safety-related homework is assigned every day of the short-term bicycling program, as a way to get parents and guardians involved.

next page, Knowing Your Age >>

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