Bike Utah is a statewide nonprofit advocacy and educational organization working to integrate bicycling into everyday culture. The organization’s youth outreach program is called <a href=”https://bikeutah.org/get-involved-2/youth-bicycle-education-program/”>Bicycle Education and Safety Training</a> (BEST) and has interacted with more than 1,500 children since the program began in September 2016. Executive Director Phil Sarnoff said bicycling has always been part of his daily life. He described BEST as a hands-on opportunity for children in fourth through seventh grades to learn how to stay safe while riding their bikes.
Sarnoff said students who have participated in the program show a 77 percent increase in their knowledge of bicycle safety. They learn the rules of the road, how to adjust and wear a helmet, how to navigate intersections, how to avoid hazards and how to make sure their bikes are in safe working order. BEST is free of charge to students.
“We wanted there to be no barriers to any school or student participating,” Sarnoff said. “We have a great instructor who comes to the school with a box truck full of bicycles and teaches the program. It’s one hour [per day] over the course of five days because we want kids to not just have one five-hour block where they learn all these things. We want them to be able to experience it, process a little bit, come back the next day and ask questions. It’s been great, and the students seem really excited about riding after they’ve been a part of the program.”
Sarnoff said BEST is funded by Bike Utah’s “great sponsors.” He said the organization has also been able to receive funding from several grants. More information can be found at <a href=”http://www.bikeutah.org/”>www.bikeutah.org</a>.