Bike Safety Education Series: Lesson 8 – Right of Way with Traffic

This is part 8 in a series of Safe Routes for Kids Curriculum blog posts.


Lesson 8 – Right of way practice with traffic

Timing: 15 minutes in class, 40 – 45 minutes on bikes

Techniques: Use think, pair, share for the most in-class involvement; Use the team oath for outside classroom management (see Lesson 3). Use Right of Way overheads.

Before class:  Set up drill on low-traffic street.

  1. Review Lesson 7.
  2. Review right of way with the “Who has the right of way” Worksheet overhead detailing the use of the Zero rule.
    • First to stop, first to go.
    • Furthest to the right goes first.
    • Turning left goes last.
    • Don’t Get Hit No Matter What
  3. Review Team Oath (see Lesson 3).
  4. Go outside. Pass out bikes. Do Bike Safety Check and Personal Safety Check (see Lesson 3).
  5. Conduct drill on low-traffic intersection: Right of way drill. Follow on street protocol (which means there is an adult stationed to help students make safe choices (not stopping traffic) at each intersection where the group does not have the right of way).

Instructions

  • You will start in one of four lines.
  • When the person in front of you has gone through the intersection, it is your turn.
  • We will be looking for two things: proper turns and adherence to right of way rules.
  • After you go through the intersection, shoulder check, signal, and turn into the back of the line.

Staffing

  • Minimum: you at the intersection (watching for lane position and right of way) and the classroom teacher as a rotating line coach.
  • Additional adults are very useful for this drill. They can serve as line coaches and, ideally, allow the classroom teacher to ride through the drill with the students. Students love it when their teacher must yield to them!

Tips

  • Some teachers are very tempted to get involved with advising students about right of way instead of line coaching (“It’s your turn Ramon! Go! They’re waiting!”). Don’t allow this. Make your instructions to the teacher clear and repeat them nicely but firmly if necessary. If the teacher continues trying to coach the students, ask the teacher to ride.
  • You’re likely to have to contend with other road users (cars, bicycles, trucks, and others). Deal with them on a case-by-case basis. Encourage students to carry on with the drill unless directed otherwise.
  • Be mindful of impatient drivers forced to stop behind a 9 year-old at an imaginary stop sign. Their frustration is a little easier to understand than those stuck behind a 9 year-old at an actual stop sign.
  • Don’t motion for a motorist to do anything unless it becomes necessary. If you way through a car who does not have the right of way, explain to the students why you waved them through even though it “wasn’t their turn.”
  • If you are particularly concerned about interactions with other road users, or their speed, put a few cones in the middle of the street about a block away to catch the attention of approaching motorists.
  • Don’t engage with angry or dangerous drivers. If their actions have the potential to injur or intimidate others, write down the vehicle plate number, a description of the vehicle, and a description of the driver. Then, when the class is over, call the police business line and report their behavior. Try not to let the kids know you’re doing this as it will only distract from the drill.

This is a brief overview of one lesson in the Safe Routes for Kids Curriculum as taught by BTA educators at schools in Portland Public, David Douglas, and Parkrose School Districts.

This curriculum is also used to teach 4th-7th graders across the state by partners in Eugene, Ashland, Albany, Corvallis, Klamath Falls and Bend!

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