Middle schoolers learn rules of the road through Safe Routes to School Program

(SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. -- For the last two weeks, middle schoolers learned road safety in lieu of their usual PE class.

It's part of the Safe Routes to School Program, which includes a little bit of everything: working with law enforcement to make sure cars aren't going too fast near schools, improving infrastructure like school sidewalks and crosswalks, and teaching kids to walk and bike to school safely.

"It's important to signal to other vehicles what you're doing," Cal Young Middle School student Jacob Dimrco said. "I've been learning about the signals and the positions of the road. I didn't know any of this until now."

And on Friday, the last day of the program for Cal Young, the kids took their knowledge to the streets of Eugene.

"Bicyclists actually follow the same rules that cars do. They learn what is legal for them and what is not legal. They learn how to signal," Safe Routes to School Program Manager for Eugene 4J School District Sarah Mazze said.

Eugene 4J, Bethel and Springfield School Districts participate in the program.

"Safe routes to school says it all. We want the kids to be getting to school safely," Mazze said.

But right now fewer than half of those districts' students actually get a chance to learn and ride.

"We would love to be in 100% of the middle schools throughout 4J and around the region," Mazze said. "And reaching all of our second graders with pedestrian safety and right now we don't have the funding for that."

Students who are part of the lucky few say you can't beat this kind of learning experience.

The program is funded by grants including money from the Jane Higdon memorial fund, but in order to expand the program to more kids, they're looking for donations and volunteers.

You can find more information on the Safe Routes to School website.

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