Saturday, July 21 , 2018, 12:33 pm | A Few Clouds 71º


Students to Learn Bike Safety after Vieja Valley Accident

This Monday, Aug. 24, students and parents at Vieja Valley Elementary School will gather just in time for the new school year to begin to learn some important lessons on bicycle safety. 

In May, a Vieja Valley father received a call one morning that makes a parent’s heart stop. Jason Medina’s 10-year-old son, Isaac, who regularly rode his bike to school, had been hit by a car on his way there. Another boy, riding alongside Isaac, was also clipped by the car as the driver made her way out of a parking center driveway. 

Thankfully, the boys’ injuries were not serious. However, the incident highlighted a problem in the bikeway network that affects all the children who ride to school along the route Isaac and his friend were on.

The boys were heading westbound along Calle Real and then onto State/Hollister. After the spot where the route crosses the 154 Bridge, the right side of the street is narrow, and traffic flows at high speeds. Young bicycle riders often opt for the wide sidewalk on the other side in front of a shopping center. 

As students prepare to head back to class, the school teamed up with the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition (SBBIKE) and the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation (COAST) to host it's seventh Bici Famili, which will help teach students who choose to ride bicycles, along with their parents, how to do so safely.

In addition to a short presentation, the families will join in exercises on the blacktop, and those who’ve demonstrated safe riding skills will participate in a group ride on the street that will include the route Isaac and his friend were riding. More fun drills and/or a ride on the Oburn Trail are planned for those who aren’t yet ready to cycle in traffic.

Many of the school’s students travel from San Vincente, meaning they must cross the 101 and navigate some tricky spots to get to school. Making sure those who want to ride bicycles know how to do so safely is imperative, says SBBIKE education coordinator Christine Bourgeois.

Bourgeois is more than pleased with the school’s support of the event. Hope School District Superintendent Daniel Cooperman reached out to the coalition for help educating students on bicycle safety, and the school’s new principal, Juan Ricoy, plans to participate in the event, riding with students at the end of the evening. 

All Vieja Valley families are welcome. The event will run from 5–7:30 p.m. 

Participants should bring their own bikes if they have them, and volunteers will offer free checkups to make sure the bicycles are in good working order. A limited number of loaner bikes for both adults and kids will be available. Participants must wear helmets, and those who don’t have them can purchase new ones for $10 each.

Bilingual instruction will be provided by certified League Cycling Instructors (LCIs), and the PTA will provide food. 

— Holly Starley is the content coordinator at the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition.


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