Kids Bike Safety Festival

Kids Bike Safety Festival, Culver City

Instructor Rye explains how to "scan" and turn properly.

On May 6, we hosted a Kids Bike Safety Festival to kick off Bike to School Week and promote National Bike to School Day in Culver City. The goal was to educate and inspire children to bike to school more frequently.

The free festival was attended by 129 students from throughout Culver City. Also in attendance were Assemblymember Holly Mitchell (D-CA), Culver City Mayor Andrew Weissman and Culver City Councilmembers Meghan Sahli-Wells, Jeff Cooper and Jim Clarke.

Our Walk ‘n Roll Festivals teach kids essential bike and pedestrian safety rules and skills. Parents are encouraged to participate and we often have parent workshops as well. Several stations are set up that the children progress through and include:

  • Helmet Checks
  • Bike Checks
  • Starting and Stopping techniques
  • Avoiding Hazards
  • Scanning, turning and signaling

In addition the children are taken on a group ride (about 12 at a time) to put into practice what they just learned. Upon completion, the children receive a certificate of completion.

The Festival, and subsequent promotion for Bike to School Day, were made possible by a grant from the California Department of Public Health. It featured eight skills stations designed to teach kids proper bike handling skills and valuable safety techniques. Children – and their parents – learned how to properly fit their helmets, inspect their bikes before each ride, proper starting and stopping technique, how to avoid hazards, turn signals and yielding.

Instructor Bryan gives pointers on proper starting and stopping techniques.

After working their way through the stations, the children participated in group rides around the neighborhood to practice what they had learned under the watchful eyes of trained instructors. Each child then received a certificate of completion and signed a pledge to always wear their helmet.

Meghan Sahli-Wells, Culver City Council member and mother of two stated, “The Festival was brilliant because it helped kids learn important safety education while having a blast! This will help kids remember that safe cycling is fun cycling. I especially loved the pledge kids took to wear their helmets.”

In addition to the skills stations, each lead by trained instructors (LCIs), an obstacle course was set up for the children to have some fun after working so hard. Culver Police Department officers were even clocking the kids’ speed with a speed gun and offering friendly safety advice. A snack station, stocked by generous community and private donations, was also available to insure sure the children had plenty of water and healthy treats to munch on. Building on the community theme, local bike shops Chubby’s Cruisers and Cynergy Cycles manned the bike check station ensuring each bike was in tip-top condition before hitting the course. El Marino parents, local groups Culver City Bicycle Coalition (CCBC) and Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) contributed volunteers to help staff out the stations and on-site bike valet.

Says El Marino PTA Financial Assistant Maggie Memmot-Walsh The Bike Safety Festival was a really fun and empowering event for both my 4 and 7 year olds. They both learned and practiced new skills that will make them safer and more confident on our rides to school and around town.”

Instructor Cynthia makes sure the kids are riding on the street together and straight.

The new bike skills will instill confidence and inspire the children to ride their bikes to school more often. By biking to school in the morning, children arrive more active and ready to start their day. Plus, more kids biking means less cars and congestion around schools, creating safer neighborhoods and healthier, more livable communities.

“Helping kids start their day in a fun, active way is more than a tagline” states Jim Shanman, founder of Walk ‘n Rollers. “It’s our inspiration. We simply want to help more children be more active and biking to school is an excellent way to achieve that. More than inspire them though, we also want to teach the children how to do so safely and responsibly.”

Learning Signals