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Paving the way to make cycling a safer option for students

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The Sarnia Journal has partnered with the nuSarnia Foundation to feature a series of stories promoting active transportation and community wellness.

By: The nuSarnia Foundation

Meet Oaklen!

Oaklen commutes to school by bike. To ensure his comfort and safety on his daily commute, a few proactive measures have been taken by his parents:

1. Oaklen is accompanied by a parent, guaranteeing an extra layer of protection.

2. Familiarity is key! This means taking the same roads to school as you do for various activities such as going to the park or the grocery store; making the route familiar and reassuring. Side streets are also prioritized to avoid heavy car traffic on main roads.

3. Safety education is a must. Oaklen has been learning about bike safety since he was a baby and has gradually gained independence on his bike. He’s received instructions in standard bike safety rules and has gradually assumed more responsibility on the road, including making decisions about crossing roads when traffic has cleared, which boosts his confidence!

Oaklen. (nuSarnia photo)

Encouraging more students to embrace biking to school presents both opportunities and challenges. For children in Oaklen’s age group, a substantial hurdle lies in the time constraints faced by parents during the morning rush. Juggling school drop-offs, potential daycare arrangements for younger siblings, and their own work commutes leaves limited space for bike rides. His age group is typically too young to ride alone, and many parents struggle to find time to accompany them, especially during morning rushes.

One promising solution is to organize parent chaperones who volunteer to accompany groups of students biking or walking to school, similar to the parent-led “bike buses” seen in other cities. This approach offers numerous advantages, including fostering independence for the children, providing time for pre-school play, and lightening the burden on parents.

Furthermore, when more children bike together, they enhance their visibility on the road, leading to reduced car traffic during drop-off and pick-up times. These collective efforts could pave the way for cycling to become a safer and more popular option for many more students.

nuSarnia is a passionate group of social entrepreneurs committed to making Sarnia the best it can be – a vibrant, lively city where people are excited to live, work, play and learn. We are committed to raising awareness, sharing knowledge, acquiring wisdom, fostering collaboration and attentively listing to create a more connected, active and healthy community.

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