City, school district join forces for Bike to School Month
Fri, 2015-04-24 05:00 News Staff
By LYNETTE SOWELL
In partnership with the City of Copperas Cove, the Copperas Cove Independent School District is planning to particpate in National Bike to School Month during May 2015. The goal is to promote healthy lifestyles, better the environment, and identify potential challenges to safe bicycling that can lead to changes in the community. At its April 14 meeting, the CCISD board of trustees voted to adopt a resolution to partcipate in National Bike to School Month. Along with the proclamation, the district included a “Bikeability Checklist” which encourages students an their families to rate their bicycle routes around the neighborhood, as well as to and from school. The checklist helps families score a route’s safety, intersections, street surfaces, as well as drivers. The form also suggests options for how to help improve a community’s score if there are issues that need to be addressed. The handout also encourages students to wear helmets, make sure their bicycles are in good working order, and that they have the ability to manage the ride to school. At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Mayor John Hull made a proclamation designating May 6, 2015 as “Bike to School” Day in Copperas Cove, and encouraged all citizens to consider the safety and health of children today and every day. The proclamation states one community leaders and parents can determine the “bikeability” of their community and identify any potential challenges to safe bicycling using a bikeability checklist. Additionally, community members and leaders “should make a plan to make immediate changes to enable children to safely bicycle and walk in our communities and develop a list of suggestions for improvements that can be executed over time.” To go hand in hand with the Bike to School Month, the city also received approval from the council to go forward with creating a “Safe Routes To School” plan. Safe Routes to School is a national and international movement to create safe, convenient, and healthy opportunities for children to walk and bicycle to school. Between 2005 and 2012, the federal government provided funding for all 50 states and the District of Columbia to implement a Safe Routes To School (SRTS) program. Since 2012, Safe Routes to School has become a state-focused initiative with individual states deciding how they want to fund projects that encourage and promote walking and bicycling to school. Funding as a result of participating in a SRTS program can help communities install sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, signs and signals. Part of the program also involves cities and school districts working together to assess routes to school for accessibility and safety for bicycle riders and walkers. “Copperas Cove is committed to realizing our vision for a safe, enjoyable, and accessible walking and bicycling environment for our students,” the city’s plan states.