Access to Bicycling with Latino Network

Guest Post from Lead Instructor William Francis 

Franklin High School is completing its renovation and so the students it serves will be figuring out new routes to school next month. The Street Trust recently had the opportunity to lead a ride for a group of 17 incoming freshmen who are staying engaged this summer through the help of Latino Network. The Latino Network program supports students during a 4-week summer session before the 9th grade year; students spend mornings in class and afternoons engaged in fun, enriching activities from sports to field trips to college visits.

Most of the students had already taken The Street Trust’s 10-hour Bike Safety Education course when they were in 4th or 5th grade. The ride was partly a review of skills for safe riding on the road, in addition to the opportunity for them to become familiar with two safe routes from Lane Middle School, where they have been for the past three years, to Franklin High School where they will be starting next month.

The kids learned in English on the way to the high school, and in Spanish on the way back to Lane Middle School. We explored the concepts of “yield” and “right of way,” stop sign configurations at various intersections, safe route planning for a bike ride, navigation of traffic lights at busy intersections, and the spatial awareness that comes from connecting two relevant and known places within their neighborhoods. At the conclusion of the ride, a number of students commented that they were surprised how achievable the trip was by bike and that they are considering trying it out when the school year starts.

From our end, it was very encouraging to reconnect with our Bike Safety students and to see them still using the skills they learned three to four years ago at schools such as Lent, Woodmere, and Whitman Elementary in East Portland. Their previous knowledge made the ride very smooth and allowed us to really focus on routing and experiential learning. Our return trip in Spanish was equally seamless and relevant considering the cultural backgrounds of the students and their ability to share their knowledge within the Latino community as leaders for those who choose to use the bicycle as a viable form of transportation.

Thank you to Latino Network, specifically Aliera Morasch, Thalia Garcia-Aguilar, Teagan Phillips, and Vanessa Sanchez for joining us on the ride. A thank you also goes out to our amazing The Street Trust summer intern Mando Smoak who aided in the facilitating the ride.




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