Versailles Peddling Towards A Safe Route To School
By Amanda Barry
(Versailles, Ind.) – A new organization is taking strides towards making the Town of Versailles are more bike and pedestrian-friendly community.
The local Versailles Safe Routes to School committee has been awarded a grant to provide safer walking and cycling routes to and from local schools, along with providing education and training for students, parents, and the community at large.
In 2011, more than 23,000 students ages 5-15 were hit by a moving vehicle, while walking or bicycling to or from school; and 260 children died.
However, these numbers have been changing with the implementation of Safe Routes to School projects across the United States. The total number of pedestrian injuries, in regards to school children, has decreased by 33 percent. In addition, where there were no Safe Routes to Schools project, the numbers remained the same.
On Wednesday, September 10 from 7:00-8:00 p.m., a public open house will be held in the County Commissioners’ room at Ripley County Annex, 102 W. First North Street, in Versailles. The Versailles SRTS committee and representatives from Green3 Consulting Firm in Indianapolis, who specialize in environmental planning, will review current, local plans giving local residents the opportunity to ask questions and add input to the purposed plan—within a two mile radius of the three South Ripley schools.
Another event is planned on September 20 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Weber Sports’ general manager Michelle Werning will lead the 3rd annual Coolsville Bike Museum’s Bike Show and Swamp on the Versailles Courthouse Square. Versailles Safe Routes to School invites all children in kindergarten though eighth grade and their families to bring their bikes and helmets to this location for bicycle safety training followed by a bike rodeo. The safety presentation will include a review of proper hand signals used by cyclists, essentially balance testing, and will conclude with an obstacle course. There will be certificates for all participants and the awarding of two new bicycles donated by the Friendship State Bank.
“Bike riding is a great way for everyone to exercise and encourages everyone to make cycling a family activity. The most important reason for improving walkways and building much needed sidewalks and bike trails to and from school is for health and safety of all children,” Werning said.
Registration forms for the September 20 bike safety training and rodeo are available at the South Ripley Education and Jr. High Schools, the Versailles Town Hall building, and are available online at here. For more information about the Versailles Safe Routes to School project, follow Versailles Routes to School on Facebook, or contact the committee by email at [email protected].