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Iowa Bicycle Coalition to target education in Iowa schools

BY REBECCA MORIN | APRIL 23, 2013 5:00 AM

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State officials are not only pushing school districts across Iowa to encourage their students to ride bicycles to school, but they also hope to provide more rider education.

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition recently hired University of Iowa graduate Alana Croco as the Safe Routes to School program director. She graduated from the UI with a sociology degree in December 2011.

The position was created in 2007 to encourage elementary-age students to walk and ride bicycles to school in collaboration with the community.

Croco said that although she is young, she believes that her passion for the organization will help her excel in her new position. Her first event involves organizing the International Bike to School Day on May 8.

“It is done all over the world to motivate children to be healthier in a fun way,” she said.

Although the previous director focused more on implementing community programs, Mark Wyatt, the executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, said that with Croco’s new position, the group will focus more on educating schools than implementing specific programs.

“We have done a lot to involve community efforts in the past, but communities already do a lot to involve biking,” he said. “So that is where we will come in with expertise and educating the schools.”

Iowa City parent Laura Frey Law, the co-president-elect of the District Parents’ Organization, encourages both of her daughters to walk or ride their bikes to school.

“I encourage them to ride their bike especially when the weather is nice out, but sometimes we are running late or my daughter has to carry her instrument, and I have to drive them,” said Frey Law, who has a daughter in the fifth grade and ninth grade.

Although Frey Law’s daughters cannot ride their bikes to school every day, she said she would still like to see a policy implemented to assist students who wish to ride their bikes.

“Schools should adopt an overall policy, like not have kids bike on busy streets, and they should also wear helmets and have appropriate attire,” she said.

Cyclists around the community also hope schools will be more accommodating to young students who wish to ride their bikes to school.

“It would be nice if schools would be on board to help with bike travel to allow it to be safe and accommodating,” said Mary Copper, the vice president of Bicyclists of Iowa City.

Croco said she hopes to help schools stay safe through education.

“We are really trying to give a statewide initiative not just about biking to school but also helping educate crossing guards,” she said. “People do get hurt when they cross the street, and we are just advocating and encouraging for more education.”


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