WASHINGTON - “It's like riding a bike.”
It is an expression used often, but did you know there are many people who can't ride a bike. They just simply never learned. But that is why learning to ride one is part of the curriculum for all second grade students in D.C. Public Schools.
For the students we visited at C.W. Harris Elementary School in Southeast D.C., helmets have been put on and hand signals are being practiced before all of the bikes come out.
These second graders are using donated and District Department of Transportation purchased bikes to learn how to pedal and balance.
While many of us learned how to ride a bicycle with mom or dad following close behind, in some communities, mom or dad might not know how to ride a bike or can't afford a bike.
“Not a whole lot of children have a bike to ride, so us having all of these bicycles here to use allows us to expose it to every single kid in this school,” said teacher Mike Richards.
This is a district-wide program and the bikes will be moved around to every public elementary school. The kids will be taught during physical education time.
This is just one move by D.C. Public Schools to make physical education more than just playing ball.
“What I love about it is because everyone does it, nobody cares if they are above grade level and can ride a bike, if they are below grade level, if they live in the shelter, if they live in a mansion, what ward they live in,” said principal Heather Hairston. “This is really about everybody having equal access to something that’s really important for them to have and to do.”
Like learning to read and write, riding a bike is a life lesson, and the payoff for these kids is easy to see.
“Can you imagine 20 years from now and saying, ‘Where did you learn how to ride a bike?'" Hairston said. “I learned how to ride a bike in school.”