Students Receive New Helmets, Learn about Bike Safety with Bike West Hartford

At a bike check station, Charter Oak International Academy students learned how to pump air into bike tires, and how to check the brakes and chain. Photo credit: Kaily Martinez

Thanks to an Active Transportation Microgrant, students at West Hartford’s Charter Oak International Academy received new bike helmets at no cost, and third graders also received a lesson Friday about bike safety.

Charter Oak International Academy students were fitted for and received free bike helmets thanks to an Active Transportation Microgrant. Photo credit: Kaily Martinez

By Kaily Martinez

Teaching children about bike safety provides them with life-saving skills that could prevent future accidents. On Friday, May 10, Bike West Hartford held an event at Charter Oak International Academy that focused on teaching third graders the importance of bike safety.

Jack Dougherty, secretary and board member of Bike West Hartford, said third graders were the target group because they felt like the right age to teach and present information on bike safety. Georgina Rivera, the principal of Charter Oak International Academy, said she was excited to sign the school up for the event once she learned the stations were interactive.

Jack Dougherty of Bike West Hartford speaks with Charter Oak International Academy students at a bike safety session on Friday. Photo credit: Kaily Martinez

When Dougherty first reached out to Rivera about the program, Rivera said she was extremely grateful because the event provided children with important skills regarding bike safety. Dougherty expressed that bike safety is crucial everywhere. However, near Charter Oak International Academy there are two streets that are a cause for concern, Dougherty said.

In a heatmap created by Bike West Hartford, New Park Avenue and Prospect Avenue are two streets near Charter Oak that are hotspots for accidents. As the weather gets warmer, the information on bike safety will provide students with the skills to stay safe when out-and-about, and hopefully will minimize accidents in these hotspots. Many of the students are in need of properly-fitting helmets and the school wanted them to be safely prepared for summer activities, Rivera said.

“It’s one thing to give someone something, but it’s better when it comes with education,” Rivera said. “They are learning so much more about bikes, bike safety and about how to ride on the road.”

During the two-hour event, one classroom at a time went outside for about 40 minutes where volunteers set up four tables. Each table was a designated station that taught the students useful bike safety skills.

Charter Oak International Academy students check out the scooter station during a bike safety training session run by Bike West Hartford. Photo credit: Kaily Martinez

Students were eager to participate in the event. The majority of students favored the scooter station, where they could put their skills to the test by riding a scooter. Using a scooter to reenact real life scenarios provided the children with hands-on experience of looking both ways before crossing the street or turning, telling cars what direction they are going and how to be aware of their surroundings.

Following the scooter station was the helmet station, where students were fitted for a proper helmet. Once fitted, the students were able to select a helmet from a variety of choices.

The helmets students were able to choose from were free because Bike West Hartford was awarded a $5,000 Active Transportation Microgrant from the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) for the event. Students were not only taught how to be safe on the road but also the importance of checking their bicycles before riding them.

At the bike check station, volunteers used a bicycle to demonstrate what could happen if the tires were flat, the brakes did not work or the chain was broken. Students were then given the opportunity to pump air into the tire.

By pumping air into the tire, it taught students how to fill one in case they ever have a flat. At the end of this station, students walked away knowing the acronym ABC, which stood for the three most important aspects of a bicycle – air, brake and chain.

Charter Oak International Academy students view different scenarios for approaching intersection during a bike safety training session run by Bike West Hartford. Photo credit: Kaily Martinez

The last station was the tabletop model, which featured an intersection with model cars, bicycles and pedestrians used to play out different scenarios. After going through the other stations, the scale model provided a great visual representation of what to do if they were riding their bike on the side of the road or sidewalk with oncoming traffic. Once the students went through all the stations, they sat down and discussed with Dougherty what they had learned or what they thought was interesting.

“This is a bike safety and helmet program, but we want the Town of West Hartford to make the streets safer for everyone,” Dougherty said.

In the discussion, students showed they learned a lot about bike safety by providing examples from the hands-on activities. While the event was only for a few hours, Rivera said “bike safety is critical to all schools” and will share the information on Bike West Hartford with other town schools.

Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford! Click the blue button below to become a supporter of We-Ha.com and our efforts to continue producing quality journalism.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author


We-Ha.com is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that "has it all"! We-Ha.com is part of and proud of our community, and we bring a hyperlocal focus to news and features about the people, schools, businesses, real estate, sports, restaurants, charitable events, arts, and more. Contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Translate »