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Dylan Rivera

Public Information Officer

503-823-3723

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Second Graders Learn Skills To Be Safe and Predictable Pedestrians

During the winter, the Safe Routes Ambassadors take a break from teaching Bike Safety to fifth graders in order to teach Pedestrian Safety Education to second graders. Pedestrian Safety classes consist of just two sessions, one in-class and one on-street, but there’s still plenty to talk about!

Note: this was originally posted on our contractor, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance's blog.

During the winter, the Safe Routes Ambassadors take a break from teaching Bike Safety to fifth graders in order to teach Pedestrian Safety Education to second graders. Pedestrian Safety classes consist of just two sessions, one in-class and one on-street, but there’s still plenty to talk about!

Session One: In the Classroom


During our first session, students review key pedestrian safety skills and practice on a plastic roadway. We start the class with introductions before we jump into the “Pedestrian Safety Rhyme:”

Stop every time at the edge of the street
Use your head before your feet
Make sure you hear every sound
Look left, look right, look all around

Sidewalks: Why do pedestrians like sidewalks? Students come up with a number of reasons, but the main one we can agree on is that there are NO cars driving on the sidewalk. It’s important to remember that sometimes cars may drive across a sidewalk in order to access a parking lot or a driveway.

Parking lots: Students learn why it’s important to make eye contact with drivers exiting and entering a parking lot before walking in front of their cars, and to never take a shortcut across a parking lot. We discuss situations where it is safe or unsafe to walk behind a car when it is in its driveway.

Crossing the street: The crosswalk is the safest place to cross the street because people driving cars know to be aware that people might cross, and they know they should stop for them (although our experiences on the second day will sometimes show that people still won’t stop for us). The first day wraps up with some student volunteers demonstrating what they’ve learned on the plastic roadway.


Session Two: On the Street

For our second session, the ambassador scouts out a good route to take the class on a walk and give everyone a chance to try crossing the street. Students are asked to cross with a partner (both have to agree that it is a safe time to pass), as a class group (turn off your conversations while in the crosswalk), and alone (look left, look right, look all around). We check for cars in their driveways and determine if the cars are parked or if they might start moving in the near future.

I am consistently amazed by two things in this class:

1) Second graders, once they know the rules and steps they should take, are usually ready to be responsible for their own safety. Second graders are very safe and predictable pedestrians.

2) A surprising number of drivers express indifference and sometimes open outrage at having to stop at a marked crosswalk in front of a school so a 7 or 8 year old child can safely cross the street.

A friendly reminder for readers


We teach our students to be responsible for their own safety, which means they are never supposed to step in front of a moving car. So when you are driving or biking, if you are going to stop for pedestrians, please come to a COMPLETE stop for them. After all, it’s against the law not to.

The Walk+Bike Movement Finds a Champion in Russell Academy Principal Debbie Ebert

Safe Routes to School has enjoyed teaching bike safety education at the Russell Academy in Parkrose School District since 2008.

Note: this was originally posted on our contractor, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance's blog.


Safe Routes to School has enjoyed teaching bike safety education at the Russell Academy in Parkrose School District since 2008. The students are wonderful, the teachers are super fun and supportive, and the principal, Debbie Ebert, often even helps with bike safety classes and rides with us on the community rides (one year she even brought her son).  A supportive teacher or principal can make all the difference for a strong bike safety program, and Debbie Ebert is a champion for walking and biking. -LeeAnne


Principal Debbie Ebert and her family.


Tell me about a walking or biking memory you have from childhood?
Oh, wow. It’s hard to pull out just one story, since I walked and biked all throughout childhood. I rode my bike well into high school every day. That’s just how we got around. Then we moved and I was too far away to bike or walk. But then in college I sold my car and bought a bike again!

What do you like the most about the BTA’s bike and pedestrians education programs?
The presence of the instructors in the schools who are getting kids to actually DO the work of biking and walking. You can’t duplicate it any other way. You can’t just show a video or give a short presentation. The kids’ response is amazing. They just love it. It is great to see the kids learn how to ride.

If you could improve one thing about either/both of these programs what would it be?
The first year, the Safe Routes to School program had a part time liaison at each school and that was really helpful. When that position was cut, we really felt it. Our school has missed our liaison. I see the potential of what we could do with additional resources and leadership. Getting people to help is not a problem — it’s that leadership position we really miss.

How did you end up as the principal for Russell Academy?
I was in the right place at the right time. I was a teacher at Russell Academy when D.R. Rose had just been offered the superintendent of Canby. I went through a a rigorous hiring process and then became the principal. It’s been an interesting transition to go from teaching at a school to leading it.

What do you love the most about Russell Academy?
The staff is amazing. I don’t think that in my career that I ever have or ever will work with a more talented group of teachers. I am just blown away by the talent in that building.

What's so great about world-class bicycling cities?

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Revisit last month's Bicycle Brown Bag on-line

My co-worker here at the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Denver Igarta, traveled to Europe as an Urban and Regional Policy Fellow with the German Marshall Fund to search for livable streets.  Denver writes that his trip was a "search for streets that my 5-year old can play near without my constant supervision. Where kids can live active lives and learn independence."

Denver has returned from his quest and presented some of his findings at last month's Bicycle Brown Bag.  His talk is now on-line including the audio and visual presentation.  It's really worth checking out.  Even just clicking through the fun, interactive presentation is a treat. 

Click the image to view the super cool presentation.

Zoomer the Scooter takes home the prize

Thanks to all who submitted walk and bike to school cartoons. Our winner is “Zoomer the Scooter” by Mirabelle Limon.


Thanks to all who submitted walk and bike to school cartoons. Our winner is “Zoomer the Scooter” by Mirabelle Limon (pictured right). Mirabelle is in the second grade, at Mary Rieke Elementary.


Mirabelle walks to school every day rain or shine. For her winning cartoon, Mirabelle received the Safe Routes to School Backpack Bonanza at her school assembly in January.


Our three other finalists were Lucia Rioseco, Urmi Kumar, and Ellen Pyles. We'll post their entries here soon.

3,109 Carpools waiting to happen

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Are you on Drive Less. Connect. yet?

Carpooling is the easiest way to save money and make your commute more pleasant.  All you've got to do is find someone to share the ride.

Luckily, the region's easy-to-use and secure ride matching site - Drive Less. Connect. - has thousands of Portland metro commuters looking for a carpool.

Here's how you get started in 4 easy steps:

1. Go to DriveLessConnect.com - Sign up.

2. Verify your account - Just click the link in the email

3. Sign in to your account.

4. Match! - Enter your home and work addresses (don't worry, the system masks exactly where you live and work) and click "Match" to find out who's nearby and looking to ride share.