EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – After a theft shut down a Eugene bike safety education group's work with middle school kids, they are now preparing a re-launch with more opportunities for kids.
Last October, the Eugene 4J Bike Safety Education program had its trailer stolen which held more than $30,000 worth of bikes, helmets, reflectors and other equipment. The program used all of the equipment to help teach kids how to properly and safely ride bikes.
Eugene Police worked the case for weeks but investigating officers weren't able to recover the stolen property.
In the months since they were stolen, organizers have been working with their insurance provider. The group has finally gotten approval from the insurance company to begin repurchasing the fleet. Eugene’s Bike Friday will soon begin working on the new bikes. The fleet should be ready to roll again in the spring.
Even with the theft closing the program for several months and causing cancellation of some classes, organizers say good things have happened since.
"We got a great outpouring of support from the community in general and just to know that that many more people in general knew about the bikes and that program as well was sort of a positive side, a silver lining to it,” says Shane MacRhodes, coordinator with the Safe Routes to Schools program.
The bike safety education courses are offered in sixth, seventh and eighth grade classes in Eugene and Bethel schools. This year organizers will get out to eight different schools, which is the highest number of schools they've ever reached. In all, the safety course teaches students over a period of nine hour over a few days.
Another upside to kids bicycling comes with a recent Danish study. Researchers found that out of 20,000 kids studied, kids who didn’t walk or bike to school had a diminished ability to concentrate.
To read more about the study, click here http://www.counselheal.com/articles/3265/20121124/cycling-walking-school-improves-concentration.htm