Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vote Yes on 2A, 3A and 3B for our Kids and to Make Bicycling Safer for Everyone

Published in the Coloradoan Oct. 18, 2010

Kids learn to ride bicycles through practice and over time they learn good habits.  But if they ride little or aren’t allowed to ride, they don’t develop those habits.  We see them, then, as college students, running stop signs, riding off the sidewalk into traffic and riding the wrong way down the street.  

It is time to help our children develop smart cycling habits, especially in Fort Collins.  With that goal in mind the Bike Co-op is launching an effort this month to educate every school child from kindergarten through 8th grade in Poudre School District (PSD) in the basics of bicycle safety.  The program will unfold over the next three years but it begins this fall with at least four schools and a goal to train every PE teacher in Poudre School District to become a bicycle and pedestrian safety skills instructor.

This is very different from other programs in our community to date.  This program aims to create a corps of bicycle youth skills instructors in Fort Collins that can sustain a bike safety education program over time.  It’s about capacity building, human resource development and self-sufficiency. 

We need your help on this project.   We need parents and Parent Teacher Organizations to get involved.  And we need business partners interested in helping with both monetary donations (for helmets, bikes, and more) and in providing volunteers who can give us a little time to learn the basic skills necessary to teach kids safe cycling. 

If you are interested in helping with this project please contact the Bike Co-op today either through PSD’s “Share It” volunteer web site or by writing education@fcbikecoop.org.    Learn more about this program at brown-bag lunch meetings conducted by the Bike Co-op at noon on Thursday, Oct. 21st at The Group, 2803 East Harmony and Tuesday, Oct. 26th in the Community Room at Home State Bank, 303 East Mountain Ave.  in Old Town.

There’s one more way you can help.  Money Magazine dropped Fort Collins from number two to number six as a desirable place to locate a business this year because Poudre School District eliminated 139 teacher positions.  We’ve seen this with our safe cycling program through PE teachers who have been reduced to 40% or even 20% full time. 

So we need your help in voting to restore funding to our schools with a yes vote on issues 3A and 3B.  This will allow the District to maintain existing schools, close or consolidate those that are ineffective, and replace teachers that have been either released or placed on reduced teaching loads.  

Also on your ballot is referred initiative 2B which adopts the first City sales tax increase for basic services since 1982.  With this modest increase of our sales tax we are hopeful that the City might fund the bicycle safety education program that is currently being written.   As the saying goes, “it takes a village . . . “

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