Expanding Bike Rack Capacity and Encouraging Active Transportation
We strive to expand our capacity for biking and encourage active transportation. We want to see more students biking to school year round.
Our town, Quispamsis, has a new active transportation plan (https://quispamsis.ca/azdirectory/active-transportation-plan/), and because of the increasing paths, trails, and access to our community through active transportation, we want to foster that in our school community as well.
Our current bike rack could only hold 4 bikes and it was overflowing. It also sat on a muddy patch of ground that was unappealing. So we moved the current bike rack and started our campaign with that. It would have to do until a newer, bigger bike rack was ready.
Students chose this project and then conducted a survey of the student body to see if there was a desire for more bike racks. The survey indicated that we had at least 10 more students who would start to bike, not including those who already did, and our sample size was small – we only surveyed 1/10th of the student body – so we assumed there would be more interest than that.
Students decided on a few actions – they would research types of bike racks, costs, and designs, they would reach out to local businesses for prizes and start a social media campaign in conjunction with our school’s social media captain.
The research showed that for the $500 grant, we could get one bike rack, that held up to 8 bikes, with no money left for prizes as incentive. At that point they reached out to our welding teacher and the metal fabrication class. They consulted Mr. Chatterton about designs and cost of materials, and decided that a collaboration with the welding class would be in everyone’s best interest. They would get a project, and we would get a bike rack that could fit up to 18 bikes, all for just $500. That is a bargain.
The total cost of the materials was over $1200, but the remaining balance was covered in the school budget for the welding class, so it was no added strain on our group.
Our students then went out into the community and worked to create partnerships with local businesses, dropping in and cold-calling to see if they would be interested in donating prized. They got a generous donation (of hats, coffee mugs, stickers, buffs, and bracelets) from River and Trail on Hampton Rd in Rothesay. Those would be our prizes for our social media campaign.
Students designed social media posts to promote our campaign – “Bike to school, take a pic, get a prize” – and it has had some success.
Reflection & Celebration
Because we started later, we have had around 10-20 people bike to school in the last week. That is up from previous weeks, but we haven’t had a chance to really gain momentum this late in the year.
We are putting some finishing touches on the new bike rack and it will be ready by the end of the school year. It is quite impressive.
Students have enjoyed greeting people with their bikes in the morning and handing out prizes. It is really taking off and it is something that we hope to continue next year with more prizes and our new, big, bold bike rack.