published Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Chattanooga-Cleveland, Tenn., bicycle rodeo boosts school safety

Jasmine and Jaiden Goodine try out free helmets Friday at Blythe Bower Elementary as part of Cleveland's Safe Routes to School bike rodeo. They get help from Shane Darwent of Main Street Bike Co-Op in Chattanooga.
Jasmine and Jaiden Goodine try out free helmets Friday at Blythe Bower Elementary as part of Cleveland's Safe Routes to School bike rodeo. They get help from Shane Darwent of Main Street Bike Co-Op in Chattanooga.
Photo by Randall Higgins.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Summer cycling safety ruled Friday at Blythe-Bower Elementary School's parking lot.

The local Safe Routes to School program, with help from Main Street Bicycle Cooperative of Chattanooga and the city of Cleveland, hosted over 100 kids plus families Friday afternoon for a bicycle rodeo.

Free helmets were available, as were food, bicycle safety checks and tips and a slow race where balance was important and the last finisher won.

Safe Routes to School has been good for the community, said parent Jillian Goodine.

Her kids don't bike or walk to school, she said, "because there's too many red lights. They did ride their bicycles to the science fair. And you see more people walking on the new sidewalks -- wheelchairs and stuff."

Safe Routes to School is a federal grant administered by the state to encourage more exercise for kids living close to schools. It includes sidewalks, lights, signs and safety education material.

"We started the school year with a walk to school," said the city's Teresa Torbett, who administers the program. "We are closing the school year with the bike rodeo."

The program continues next year with more safety education, Torbett said.

Cleveland applied for and received a grant for the Blythe-Bower Elementary School community. City school board members recently said they would like to apply for another program, for the Arnold Memorial Elementary School neighborhood and eventually, all neighborhood city schools.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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