The Northshore School Board met for the first time this month on Monday, June 11. The students’ wellbeing and ability to safely obtain their educations acted as the central element of the meeting. The Board was happy to welcome Henry Simon as the new Director of Safety and Security. See story to the left.
Members of the Biking to School Advisory Committee approached the board to unveil their thorough plan to provide elementary schools the opportunity to allow students to ride their bikes to school. Assistant Superintendent Dave Wellington said, “For a number of years we’ve been having parents ask if they could allow their children to ride their bikes to school… traditionally we’ve said ‘no’. This year we’ve taken a different approach.” He then introduced two members of the committee to outline the plan, Alie Airhart of Canyon Creek and Brian Matthias of Lockwood/Woodin. The committee’s purpose states, “Northshore School District does not have a biking policy in relation to their elementary campuses. Allowing students to ride to school, where it is safe to do so, creates greater transportation flexibility for families, allows students to exercise greater independence and responsibility in a safe manner that is consistent with county and state codes, and promotes positive physical health.”
Airhart went on to show the widespread support the committee has received spanning from parents, teachers, and even Garret Ware of Bothell P.D. Airhart then began by explaining how the committee has set several parameters to guide this developing transportation option safely. The committee has received recommendations from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC). Additionally, recommendations for age and safety measures have been sourced from Cascade Bicycle Club and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Matthias described the safety criteria as being based on training requirements, age, and an application process. Matthias then stated that 17 of the 20 K-5 schools fit this criterion and that the remaining three would be given the resources to better make decisions regarding alternative transportation ideas. While this plan is still in its preliminary phases the next steps would be: present work to the school board, disseminate information and resources, evaluate interest for potential facility responses including bicycle racks, individual school sites explore methods of communication and partnerships. This policy would eventually make it so each elementary school’s principal would have clear guidelines or policies when deciding if it is safe for their students to bike to school.