CycleSafe Program

Cycling has never been more popular and accessible in Ottawa. As an increasingly popular activity and mode of transportation all year round, the vulnerability of cyclist safety within the City of Ottawa has also increased.

CycleSafe Program

In 2018, the City of Ottawa reported a catastrophic 226 cyclist injuries and fatalities. In addition to cyclists having a thorough knowledge of road rules, motorists must also understand that bicycles are vehicles under the Highway Traffic Act and are therefore required to respect a cyclist’s right to ride on the street. Education and awareness that starts with our youngest road users can help to play an important role in preventing serious road accidents and fatalities with cyclists.

73 per cent of cycling deaths in Canada involve a collision with a motor vehicle.

What is taught in the CycleSafe program?

There are three different lesson plans.

Module 1 – Getting Rollin’

Grade 1–2/Ages 5–7 – 30 Minutes

Getting Rollin’ is designed to build a foundation of basic cycling and helmet safety knowledge by delivering instruction around proper helmet fitting, hand signals and bicycle specific road signs. This takes place in a classroom setting without the distraction of bicycles. 30 minutes in length.

Module 2 – Predictable Pedaling

Grade 3–4/Ages 7–9 – 60 Minutes

The next module introduces concepts that are more advanced. Children of this age are more likely to be starting to ride a little further from home, so it is timely to start introducing the various situations they may encounter and have to safely manoeuvre through. These include:

  • Stopping Safely
  • Riding on Different Terrains/In different weather
  • Being Predictable
  • Communicating with other road users/Shoulder Checks
  • Cycling through Intersections/the dangers of driveways
  • Eyes up – scanning for hazards

Module 3

Grade 5–6/Ages 10–14 – 60 Minutes

The first two modules lay a foundation that leads up to preparing children aged 10 to 14 to start riding on their own. This is a time when they need to be hyper-aware of and know how to handle various situations that they will face while riding.

The final module includes:

  • Right of way & Merging
  • Hazard scanning
  • Target Fixation and selective attention/inattention blindness
  • Edge riding, parked cars, “take the lane”
  • How to fall safely

CycleSafe Program Options for Community Groups and Summer Camps

The CycleSafe program is offered year-round. For the sake of flexibility and logistics, we have a few options available for programming. The same safety concepts are taught in both the indoor and outdoor sessions. The main difference is students will be able to practice the safety concepts while riding their bikes in the outdoor sessions. It is NOT necessary for students to have their bikes to gain safety awareness and learn the concepts the sessions cover.

All 3 modules – 3 hour program

Best for kids ages 11 and up, max group size 50, out-doors (paved space needed, weather-dependent (May, June, July & August only), all children must have their own bikes and helmets). For this program we will need the assistance of 2-3 volunteers (Camp counselors, Scouters, parents etc.)

60–90 minute program – Outdoors

Max group size 30 (only covers the most age appropriate module), out-doors (paved space needed, weather-dependent (May, June, July & August only), all children must have their own bikes and helmets). No additional volunteers needed.

60–90 minute program – Indoors

Max group size 30 (only covers the most age appropriate module), in-doors (gym or large room), no bikes or helmets needed, available year-round as requested.

Creating Confident Young Cyclists

Teaching children to be confident, informed cyclists at an early age can reduce their risk of injury and fatality later in life. Cycle safety for children includes showing young cyclists defensive riding skills such as anticipating other road users’ actions such as the opening of car doors, riding according to the weather conditions, keeping your bike well-maintained, making yourself easy to be seen and be heard, and always wearing a CSA-approved bicycle helmet.

The Ottawa Safety Council’s CycleSafe program focuses less on cycling skills and more on essential concepts that will increase children’s safety awareness, equipping them with the knowledge they will need to face the realities of sharing our roads while cycling.

“Just wanted to add how much I love the event. The kids and the parent volunteers had so much fun. I always look forward to you coming. As a side note the presentation fits perfectly with the program expectations for the Full Day learning program falling within the health and physical education portion of the program. Justine and your partner were great, very knowledgeable and flexible when it came to dealing with the small hiccoughs with the extra helmets (great idea) and shepherding our friends who were less experienced. Thanks so much and I hope to see you again next year”.

–Teacher, St. Patrick Elementary

About the CycleSafe Program

Unique features of the OSCs CycleSafe program include:

  • Concepts can be taught completely without bikes (or with bikes if logistics allow)
  • Can be done in-doors year-round (or out-doors if weather permits)
  • Age-appropriate – different modules and safety concepts taught at each level based on how much children will be cycling on their own and levels of understanding
  • Fun, hands-on, experiential
  • Tied to Ontario Curriculum requirements
  • Encourages students and their families to take our Road Safety SMARTS pledge at the end

“On behalf of the Elmdale School Community I wanted to extend a sincere thanks to Jordan & Justine from the Ottawa Safety Council for attending the Elmdale Spring Fling and putting on the bike rodeo for families within our school. Both were excellent ambassadors for your program and the bike rodeo was an excellent addition to our event overall. We added a bike wash as well as a bike decorating station which were well received and added to the overall presentation”.

–Parent, Safe Transportation Committee, Elmdale Public School

Help Support the Ottawa Safety Council

Donations to the Ottawa Safety Council help us to continue building new programming and creating and delivering awareness campaigns to bring road safety advocacy and awareness to everyone in Ottawa, regardless of how they travel.

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