3rd Grade Bike Safety Day - Practical Tips


If you've never seen the bike safety day, try to visit another school's day before you run your own.
At your school, try to think of a coordinator for the next year (ask your PTA board if necessary), and invite him or her to observe at your event.

You'll need about 20 volunteers, so start recruiting early, like at Back-to-School night.

You could ask the school janitor to blow or hose down the schoolyard blacktop a few days before your event, but it's probably not a disaster if that doesn't happen.

Ask the teachers to divide their students into five groups the day before the event; you might provide name tags identifying the groups (color or letter, numbers may be confusing - or not? "Group 1 starts the day at station 1, Group 2 at station 2 etc.")

You could ask the teachers to convey these instructions to the participating students:


Have a handymam person bring a bike pump, tools to move handlebars and seats, maybe something to adjust brakes, and a tire patch kit. (Though there may not be time for fixing a leak, and your volunteers are more gainfully employed elsewhere.)
Maybe have the tools in the trunk of one of the Driveway Station cars?

How are you going to announce the end of a shift? A bullhorn is best, but lacking that a whistle or a gong or someone with a loud voice? Maybe discuss with teachers, try to keep distractions for other classrooms to a minimum.

It's fifteen minutes per station, including the move between stations.
If you don't have a diagram of previous placing of the stations at your school, try to set it up so that the students don't have to go far to the next station. The station leader will begin the introduction when the students are gathered at the start; only the helmet fitting doesn't have an introduction, so if you cannot have the stations in a circle but they are in a line, then you could position the helmet fitting at the beginning of your stations sequence.
If your stations are in a line and not in a circle, then have the Helmet Fitting at the start of the line, for it doesn't matter that it will take a few minutes to this station. Helmet Fitting is just a few tables.
Try to

Be on the lookout for bottlenecks and delays. For instance, at the driveway station I've often seen the policeman waiting for the next kid to move up to him: if he or she is standing next to him as soon as the previous one is seen off every time, more kids will get a chance to bike through the station again.
Ten seconds lost for each student in a group of twelve adds up to two minutes that could have been used to give the kids intensive biking experience.

Have the cars in the Driveway Station park like in a real street, in the correct direction. (At my son's event, the police officer asked us to turn our car around: that was no fun and not without danger during recess, and a waste of valuable time, but who can refuse a policeman?)

Volunteers at station starts:
Try to put as many students through as possible, it helps if they can ride the course two or three times. Don't waste time having them move up while the station leader is waiting: have the next student ready for the station leader as soon as the previous one starts riding.

If students are sharing a bike, don't put those kids next in line to each other but like three or four bikes apart.

Let students without bikes or helmets walk through the stations, it will teach them something; discourage scooters and rollerblades, for bike traffic rules do not apply to them. Bikes are like cars in traffic, while the law sees riders of scooters and rollerbladers as pedestrians.


You'll need 4-5 (?) rolls of blue masking tape (see below), a bucket of wide sidewalk chalk, a brush for correcting chalk marks, a 25ft measuring tape, and at least one adult helper, two helpers is better; children can help in finishing. Print or write two sets of large numbers 1-5 to indicate the stations (though Kathy will bring numbers too).
A useful tool that you can make yourself is two bricks (or rocks or pieces of broken yard tile) with a 50ft string tied between them, to measure the two 'long' stations and to guide the chalking of long lines, like the broken center line of roads.
A 100 ft measuring tape is useful, but not worth the $25 outlay. I have one myself.

Try to find a map that shows the layout of the stations on your schoolyard from previous years; make a new layout if that's not available or if it didn't work out well last year. Study campus map for available space, look for existing lines on the blacktop; plan station starting points not too far from each other, so students can move to the next station quickly.
Only Helmet Fitting does not have an introductory talk, so if you can't make a circle, make Helmet Fitting the first station of the the line. Also set up stations so that groups of students waiting at their station don't mingle with other groups. Save your map for next year!

Use 'old' station layout graphics as a definitive reference, some of the newer diagrams are incorrect in details.

Try to use existing white lines on your schoolyard, but don't put tape on them. (The tape might rip up the white cover.)

Set chalk marks at the edges of the station layouts, and also in the middle of the 70-ft lines of the Controlled Riding and Moving Left stations. (I thought of paint marks for use in years to come, but 1. the teachers said the school doesn't allow and 2. the spray can of asphalt paint I looked at said it would last less than a year.)

Attach end of blue tape to pavement in desired spot and direction, have someone step on it while someone else unrolls the tape to the next chalk mark, pull it tight gently (don't break the tape), and bring it down to the pavement and attach; now both step on the tape or gently slide feet over it to press it to the asphalt for attachment; or have children helpers do that, they can also ride their bikes over it.

Circle segments are best drawn with chalk.

Don't connect tape at corners, to reduce mishaps.If some tape comes loose, not everything is gone.

Why blue masking tape?
I don't have much experience here with either the beige masking tape or silver duct tape; but I would be afraid that the beige masking tape might break more easily than the blue tape, and then cleanup might turn into a real problem; and I would be afraid that duct tape sticks too well to the asphalt and you'll rip up part of the blacktop at cleanup. Another disadvantage of the duct tape is that you'll need to carry scissors to cut it.
Be careful NOT to grab tape 'for delicate surfaces,' for even a gust of wind will blow it away.

1½" tape is fine, 2" is also good, just what is available or cheapest.

Many thanks to longtime setup veteran Jeff Whitnack for his comments. Jeff was already working with Kathy on the Bike Safety Day years before the present crop of third-graders were born.

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email Questions and comments good or bad welcome. A good Bike Safety Day is the most important thing here.