Danville Express

Newsfront - November 23, 2007

Deputy gives bike tips to middle schoolers

Talk prompted by collision with student cyclist in crosswalk

by Natalie O'Neill

An eighth-grade girl was knocked off her bike by a car near the southbound Stone Valley Road freeway ramp, prompting the Sheriff's Department to teach a bike safety class to middle school students.

The girl, who suffered minor knee abrasions, was more shaken up than injured. She was hit inside the crosswalk, said Alamo Deputy Elmer Glasser. He gave her a ride home after the incident.

Glasser helped teach the bicycle safety glass at Stone Valley Middle School last week to help prevent similar accidents in the future. He explained to the kids that making eye contact with car drivers, especially around busy intersections like Stone Valley Road, is crucial for bikers.

"I had them identify what roads they used home from school and whether they felt safe," he said. "There's no one who knows those bike routes better than the kids."

He also explained how to wear helmets and ride bikes properly, along with the importance of locking them up.

"We wanted to inform them a fellow classmate had been struck by a vehicle and to provide facts and the truth of incident," he said. "The student hadn't been doing anything wrong."

One seventh-grader told Glasser the scariest part of his ride home is the crosswalk at Stone Valley Road, where drivers are trying to make a right turn but are looking left.

Some parents in the district feel bike safety is a more eminent issue, now that busing to and from school is no longer offered in the San Ramon Valley.

"It's a real hot issue around here," Glasser said at this month's Alamo Police Advisory Committee meeting.

A county survey taken in April showed about 3.5 percent of students in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District ride their bikes to school.

The survey, taken from about 2,500 families, didn't specify the ages of the students or where they were from specifically. But middle-schoolers are likely the biggest bikers in the district, as they are too young to drive themselves, yet generally are old enough to bike alone.

Glasser spends a lot of time working with middle school students and said he has noticed more students biking now that busing is no longer an option.

County transportation officials said last week that busing will be provided to schools in the district by September 2009.


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