Dr. Gillian Hotz of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine created the BikeSafe program in September of 2009 to address Miami-Dade County’s high rates of bicyclist injuries and fatalities.  BikeSafe utilizes a 5-E model of education, engineering, encouragement, evaluation and enforcement to improve bicycle safety, increase bicycle ridership and enhance community bikeability.   BikeSafe is currently piloting an elementary school bicycle safety course at the Belafonte Tacolcy Center in Liberty City .  The UM BikeSafe college course is based on the League of American Bicyclists national “Traffic Skills 101” course and BikeSafe staff are certified bicycle safety instructors.

BikeSafe™ Program

The University of Miami’s BikeSafe™ program was piloted at the Belafonte Tacolcy Center over ten one-hour sessions; the course was later modified to fit within the Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation summer camp schedule (in both 2010 and 2011). Since that very first implementation, BikeSafe has taught a total of 516 children the full BikeSafe™ curriculum. Most recently, the BikeSafe™ program has been approved for implementation in Miami-Dade County middle schools in its adapted school-specific format. This is important because middle school-aged children were identified by the task force team as a target group for bicycle safety education, due to the increased independence and further-developed physical skills that are present at this developmental stage. The program is primarily directed to middle school children, but can be applicable to people of all ages.

The BikeSafe™ program uses the “5E” Model of Education, Engineering, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation that is endorsed by the National Safe Routes to School Program. When the University of Miami BikeSafe™ program began in the Fall of 2009, BikeSafe™ staff organized a task force meeting to gather the relevant community partners and stakeholders whom would help guide BikeSafe™ programmatic efforts. The task force team has since grown and BikeSafe™ staff work closely with the task force members to promote bicycle safety efforts in Miami-Dade County. This process includes expanding and strengthening the BikeSafe™ program through our community. Below you can find some of the basic safety components taught at our course that can be applicable to UM students and staff:

Be sure your helmet fits! 2-finger rule
o (1) The bottom of the helmet should be two fingers above the eyebrows
o (2) The straps should form a V-around the ear (lobe)
o (3) Two fingers should fit snugly through the chinstrap

Before your ride…ABC Quick Check
o (A) Check the AIR in the tires
o (B) Check the brakes, make sure the cables, pads, and levers are all working properly
o (C) Chain, crank, chainring, cogs, and cassettes are well lubricated and not showing signs of rust
o (QUICK) The quick release levers on the seat post, wheels, and brakes are all closed.

• A bicycle on the road is considered a vehicle; therefore, it is important to behave like one. This means stopping at red lights, obeying the rules of the road, and most importantly, riding on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic.

• Be visible! Wear proper attire and equipment – always ride with light/bright colored clothing which allows you to be more visible to motorists.  It is important and required that you have a white light mounted on the front and a red light mounted on the back when riding at dawn or dusk (FL law), especially during the winter when the days are shorter.

The University of Miami BikeSafe program can be reached at: 305-243-8115

BikeSafe™ Resources