Bike thefts outdoors Forest Garden Excessive College in Southeast Calgary have been an issue for a few years.
That is one thing that Assistant Principal Mark Anderson heard from college students as a hindrance to highschool.
However now that the varsity administration has labored intently with Youth En Route, they’ve seen a giant change.
“We have been in a position to modify these bike racks to make them extra appropriate and protected, and we have been additionally in a position to carry them inside the varsity,” he stated.
“The scholars right here have actually constructed youth en route … with the monetary backing of bike-locking racks that we will use.”
Since then, they have not had any burglaries, Anderson stated. They’re additionally contemplating including a 3rd rack inside the varsity as they don’t have space for storing.
Bike theft is among the points Youth En Route is attempting to sort out. The Calgary group connects with space excessive faculties to seek out out what obstacles college students face in relation to biking – whether or not it is storage, street security or studying to experience a motorcycle – to allow them to keep in class and past Really feel extra empowered to experience a motorcycle.
Laura Shutiak began the group in 2021 and has now labored with about 10 faculties in Calgary, one in Lethbridge and one in Pink Deer. She says she was impressed by her youngsters, who didn’t wish to go to highschool on their bikes.
“It was geeky, silly, not one thing they needed to do,” she stated in an interview. Homestretch,
“It acquired me occupied with how empowering it’s for teenagers to be impartial and go the place they wish to go, and that we have to change attitudes in excessive faculties.”
Shutiak begins by contacting every faculty and conducting a survey to seek out out what’s stopping college students from selecting bikes. Then, they start focused programming, instructing college students about hand alerts to make use of on the street, the significance of helmets, and correct mapping of bicycle routes.
Shutiak says they’ve supplied full or partial class units of bikes and upkeep kits to about six faculties.
“We have constructed fleets of bikes that academics are utilizing in physical-education courses,” she stated. “Many instances these courses begin in a parking zone or an space the place youngsters are actually studying to experience a motorcycle.”
He has additionally given some surplus bikes to the varsity authorities in order that they are often distributed to the scholars.
Youth En Route is now conducting surveys in faculties to know how profitable this system is.
Anderson says he is observed the distinction each morning with a rotunda stuffed with bikes. The college can be utilizing the bike to help college students who’re new Canadians.
“Our English studying program has embraced bikes, and we take courses and we be taught languages … by means of the usage of bicycles,” he stated.
The college has began competitions and presents for the scholars who experience their bikes a number of instances every week. They’re additionally wanting into beginning a motorcycle mechanics program.
“We’re attempting to do all of the issues for all the youngsters as quickly because the wants are met,” Anderson stated.
‘It provides me extra confidence’
Nonetheless, a number of the metropolis’s college students will not be fairly able to make changes.
Betty Woldeghiorghis is a Class 11 pupil at Bishop O’Burn Senior Excessive College. She would not personal a motorcycle, and even when she did, she would not really feel utterly comfy with the concept of going to highschool, preferring the bus as a substitute.
“My home is simply too far… I believe it is like 20 minutes to my faculty,” stated the schoolgirl, including that she needs to see extra devoted bike lanes round city to offer her extra entry to highschool. Really feel comfy biking.
He’s a part of a management group that has partnered with Youth En Route. He studied helmets and concussions, site visitors security, bike restore and wayfinding within the spring. Then, he used his bike fleet to experience to space elementary faculties to share what he discovered.
Her classmate, Justina Obteru, additionally helped ship these classes. Obateru additionally would not bike to highschool resulting from further time and unpredictable climate in Calgary, however she says she needs to start out biking extra.
“I really feel much more proud after I experience a motorcycle and am in a position to check my data after I’m driving a motorcycle based mostly on what I be taught … and it provides me extra confidence is,” she stated.
Anderson says previous surveys have indicated that almost all of scholars nonetheless drive to highschool, however developments are altering.
“I hope for some suggestions on the work completed to this point that they really feel protected. … They don’t seem to be apprehensive about the place they depart their cycles,” he stated.
Youth En Route not too long ago acquired $50,000 from the Alberta Ecotrust Basis’s Local weather Innovation Grant Program. It offers funding to initiatives that defend and defend Alberta ecosystems and watersheds and meaningfully handle local weather change.
Shutiak says the funds will likely be used to construct and enhance bike racks in faculties and purchase extra bikes and helmets to allow them to take the programming even additional.
“Lower than two kilometres, three kilometer routes are low hanging fruit,” she stated.
“Children wish to do the correct factor. They wish to scale back their greenhouse fuel emissions, however they do not know the right way to do it. And so we wish to present some help and solutions to allow them to make that alternative.”