On January 31, 2012, City Council unanimously voted to approve the City staff’s recommendation to hire Safe Moves, a non-profit organization that works to educate children on safe walking and bicycling practices. Safe Moves will work with the 156 elementary and middle schools in the City of San Diego. The City hired Safe Moves through a SANDAG grant and the program began with the new fiscal year on July 1 and is scheduled to run for an entire year. I recently spoke with Pat Hines, the tireless advocate and founder of Safe Moves about this new program that the City has implemented to bring the joy of riding to a new generation of San Diegans.

Pat Hines. Founder of Safe Moves

Hines began her work as an advocate as a result of tragic circumstances – she lost one of her close friends while training for the 1984 Olympics. The shock and tragedy propelled Hines into becoming one of the nation’s vocal and best recognized advocates for the non-motorized crowd and an advocate for our most vulnerable road users, children. Realizing that good habits was best instilled when young, Hines founded Safe Moves and promptly got to work.

The program that Safe Moves brings to San Diego has been lauded around the country and is based on a two step program comprised of awareness and education. The goal is not only to educate school going children, but also educate the parents by giving them the confidence that their kids can transport themselves independently. Most impressive is how the program trains the kids to also become aware of their environment and become engaged in the process of improving their environment. The program teaches kids to recognize and avoid common sources of traffic collisions and how to behave and understand the behaviors of other road users as well as understanding traffic flow and operation and how they fit into the transportation network. The program also introduces kids to the California Vehicle Code and how to behave in a safe manner around other vehicles including buses, trains and trucks.

The video below is a brief description of what a safety course conducted by Safe Moves looks like.

 

Safe Moves introduces parents and their kids to the idea of getting to school either by walking or biking and thus helping alleviate one of the biggest dangers that surround schools – vehicle traffic congestion. By encouraging and enabling kids to walk and bike to school, Safe Moves works to ensure that kids can be more safe and thus realize the numerous benefits they bring by not getting into a car for every single trip.

I asked Hines how the program dealt with schools that were challenging to get to due to wide arterial roads or otherwise uninviting environmental conditions surrounding the school. Hines responded that Safe Moves worked with the school, the parents and the kids to both recognize the challenges and then trained them to advocate to improve the uninviting components that served as a barrier to walking or bicycling.

For more information about Safe Moves programs in San Diego, check the fliers below or contact Pat Hines at:

12707 High Bluff Drive
Suite # 200
San Diego,
CA 92130
Phone: (619)266-0577

Summer Programs organized by Safe Moves. Click for bigger version
San Diego Brochure. Click for bigger version

For more about Pat Hines, here is another interview of her.