MnDOT awards $96,000 in grants to support safer bicycling
Bicycle fleet awards are part of Safe Routes to School program
ST. PAUL, Minn. – More than 16,000 Minnesota youth will benefit from the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School grants that support pedestrian and bicycle safety education in schools.
Bicycle fleets, trailers and supplies were awarded to the Northwest Regional Development Commission in Warren, St. Cloud Area Public School District and Willmar Community Education and Recreation. Awardees estimate the three fleets will be used in 42 schools, scout groups, 4-H clubs, parks and recreation and after school programs.
As a part of MnDOT’s Safe Routes to School program, these $96,000 in grants award communities a trailer, bicycles and supplies that enable teachers, after school programs, and other community groups to share the bicycles while teaching critical safety skills to youth in Minnesota.
“These grants will increase opportunities for kids across Minnesota to bike to school by providing free access to biking equipment and safety training,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “In addition to improving safety, these grants will help keep Minnesota communities healthy by facilitating the development of lifelong habits.”
“Since the 1960s, the rate of youth bicycling and walking to school has decreased from 48 percent to a mere 13 percent,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “The Safe Routes to School program aims to reverse this trend. The bicycle fleet grants and pedestrian and bicycle safety education are key components of ensuring youth in Minnesota are given the lifelong skills to walk and bicycle safely.”
Part of the bicycle safety education includes the Walk! Bike! Fun! curriculum for children ages 5 to 13.
Since 2005, MnDOT has awarded approximately $20 million yearly in federal funds to communities to support Safe Routes to School. The majority of funding is for infrastructure projects.
In 2013, Gov. Dayton and the legislature authorized $500,000 in general funds for Safe Routes to School non-infrastructure activities for the biennium. In 2014, this was increased to $1 million for non-infrastructure activities. An additional $1 million from the general fund was invested for infrastructure projects.
The Safe Routes to School report is at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/govrel/reports/2015/srts-report-2014-2015.pdf.
More information is available at www.mndot.gov/saferoutes.
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