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Bike train helps East Lansing elementary school students get to school safely

Posted at 7:26 AM, Oct 21, 2021

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Red Cedar Elementary School in East Lansing started a “bike train” program that ensures kids arrive to and from school safely every day by having an adult chaperone pick them up from their houses on a bicycle and ride to school with them.

It’s already been a hit among students, who say the ride is a great way to talk with their friends before school.

This bike train is part of a nationwide Safe Routes to School program… and Red Cedar principal Rinard Pugh says it’s a great asset to the school community.

“It's good for our environment.” Rinard Pugh, the principal of Red Cedar Elementary School, said. “There's fewer kids that are in cars. It's good to promote health and fitness, which is really important with our students coming off of COVID. So we want to have the kids get outside and participate and interact and be physical as much as possible and it's just good for Red Cedar.”

The program was started this year by teaching assistant and substitute teacher Jeff Potter, an avid biker himself, who admits the ride is “like herding cats.”

He heard about a similar program that had great success in Traverse City, so he decided to try bringing it to East Lansing.

“This kind of thing is a really good community builder,” Potter said. “They were having a nice time riding separately with their own families; but when they ride together, I think it improved school behavior and their awareness of their neighborhood.”

Pugh says about 20 students walk or bike to school every day, and so far about 10 participate in the bike train program on a regular basis.

Students bike to school alongside an adult chaperones
Students bike to school alongside an adult chaperones

“The kids are nuts for it, and the parents let me know that,” Potter said. “When I'm riding with them all I hear is them jibber jabbering but they obey and they ride very good. And I know they're proud, but I hear back from the parents about how much they really like it.”

The total route is about two miles, but most kids only bike about a half mile.

Potter said he hopes to continue the program throughout the school year and expand it to include students in other schools.

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