by Cristian Soler
The third- and fourth-grade students at Alexander J. Stoddard Elementary School sat on the library floor and listened to Anaheim Police Cadets Noah Daniels and Jonathan Drake explain key points about bicycle safety.
“We saw a need for it,” said Drake.
Last week’s bike safety program came just a few months after Stoddard fourth-grader Nicholas Vela, 9, was hit and killed after pedaling in front of a Ford Truck.
Once part of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, bicycle safety used to be taught at elementary schools. But D.A.R.E. was discontinued a few years ago.
December’s accident spurred the cadets to put together a program to try to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“They’re a great example of the kind of officers we want in the cadet program,” said Lt. Jarret Young. “Commitment to the community. We like to see that in our officers and cadets.”
During Friday’s program, students were able to ask questions as the cadets educated them on topics such as bicycle statistics, hazards, pedestrians, crosswalks, turning safety, traffic signs and helmet. One key point the children had to recite was the ABC’s before riding a bike: air, brakes, and chain.
“I saw that sign at the discovery museum,” a child said, referring to the yellow and black dinosaur traffic sign the recruits demonstrated in a PowerPoint demonstration.
After the presentation, the students completed a 10-point quiz about bicycle safety.
The 25 students who brought their bikes and helmets to school got the opportunity to show off the skills they learned on a bike course set up near basketball courts; the rest of the students watched and cheered them on as they passed each obstacle.
The bike course started with a 30-yard dash, testing stopping ability, then a zigzag motion through cones, turning right and left with hand signals, a figure eight, and finished off with a slow ride to receive a bike safety certificate at the finish line.
Cadets Daniels and Drake had help from Kevin Pedrosa, William Martinez, Ivette Cruz and Jennifer Gallado. Each played an integral part researching, developing and adjusting previous information from the discontinued D.A.R.E. training programs to be more suitable for today’s students.