Our family of six avid bikers was so thrilled to move to Portland that we sold our second car. But while it’s often dubbed Bike City U.S.A., Portland, with its increasing traffic congestion, has proven difficult to navigate on bikes. After a few near misses at traffic lights and stop signs with frantic drivers late to work, my children have become defensive bikers. Last January, this worried mom-of-four decided that the latest near miss was enough. As my children get older and demand more freedom, their being safe and seen on bikes became my priority.
I wanted to empower my children—and realized that bubble wrapping them for safety was not an option—so I had to think outside the box. I approached our local elementary school PTA to sponsor a bike vest initiative at our school. After all, I see plenty of bike commuters in safety vests or bright clothing—why not our children?
Fifth grade Bike Safety Ambassadors led a Be SAFE & Be Seen campaign at Llewellyn Elementary School this spring to teach bike safety and distribute 180 bike safety vests, sponsored by the PTA. The neon vests have become a fashion statement on our playground at school!
The bike safety vests, available on Amazon, are not only snazzy; they are bright enough to be seen by cars during the daylight over a backpack, in addition to being reflective at night. The safety vests provide parents with piece of mind that their children, equipped with a helmet and safe biking skills, will also be easily seen by drivers. My children are gaining confidence doing what Portland loves to do—biking!
May was bike safety month and Portland’s own Unipiper led a Friday bike train ride to school sponsored by Llewellyn’s Bike Club. Even the Unipiper wore his bike safety vest!
With summer fast approaching, shouldn’t we all Be SAFE and Be SEEN, making bike safety a priority in Bike City U.S.A.? Our children deserve to be safe on two wheels outdoors this summer. Parents, let’s build community in Portland while promoting life-long safety bike safety skills!