Seattle launches Safe Routes to School “Let’s Go” Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts 

Briana Orr, Cascade Communications & Marketing Manager (206) 939-4309
Norm Mah, SDOT Senior Public Relations Specialist, (206) 684-8114

SEATTLE, WASH. October 5, 2016 – Today Cascade Bicycle Club joined the city of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools and Outdoors for All Foundation to announce the launch of a universal pedestrian and bicycle education at every public Seattle elementary school called “Let’s Go.” The announcement was made at Madrona K-8 School in Seattle.

Let’s Go delivers universal walking and biking safety education training for every third, fourth and fifth grade public school student. Over the past year, Cascade has worked with its partners to develop and pilot the program, which was an expansion of our "Basics of Bicycling." The program will be implemented in the physical education classes at all K-5 and K-8 schools starting this fall and will continue for the next seven years.

The three-week program provides a solid foundation of skills required for students to safely walk and roll through the built environment, avoiding the most common types of collisions. Respect is a cornerstone of the program as students learn about “right of way” and how to communicate with other street and trail users. Students are also taught the importance of wearing bike helmets and having them fitted correctly. 

“Let's Go lays the foundation for an equitable, twenty-first century, education for our students in the classroom and in life,” stated Wyeth Jessee, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) chief of student supports. “It is a program that builds relationships between SPS and community partners which supports and strengthens the district's mission to eliminate opportunity gaps.”

“This program brings biking and walking safety education into public elementary classrooms in the city,” noted SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “We are teaching lifelong safety habits that will keep our children safe as they walk and bike.”

Cascade Bicycle Club is contracted by Seattle Public Schools to train physical education teachers, assist in the classroom with curriculum, and deliver bikes, helmets and equipment to schools for use during the three-week program. The students receive critical, real-time practice walking and biking in a safe environment so they can apply their skills under supervision. Student understanding and retention of the course material is tracked with before and after tests so the partner organizations can understand what elements are working and what need to be modified for success. 

“Cascade is excited to be able to reach more than 12,000 Seattle students with the program this year, revised to include pedestrian safety,” said Shannon Koller, Cascade Bicycle Club senior director of education. “The expansion to every Seattle public elementary school means that all students can experience the joy of bicycling, many of them learning to ride for the first time through this program.”

Over the past 10 years, more elementary students have been walking and biking to school, from 15 percent in 2005 to 24 percent in 2015. As more and more of Seattle’s youngest residents walk and bike to school, slower speeds from the recently approved speed limit reduction legislation are critical for ensuring safe trips for these children. 

Safe Routes to School is a core component of Seattle’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. For more information on Vision Zero, please visit www.seattle.gov/visionzero. #VisionZeroSEA   

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