By Justin Seward
Students at Foremost, Senator Gershaw and Burdett Schools will get the opportunity to learn about off-road vehicles safety this week.
The Alberta Snowmobile Association Safe Riders Program will be making visits to the schools to make different presentations to students in kindergarten to Grade 12 about off-highway safety with quads, dirt bikes and snowmobiles.
“It’s to work with assembly-style groups to get peer pressure working on the side of safety,” said Lori Zacaruk, Alberta Safe Riders presenter.
“If we work with all kids, then eventually they will be in a situation with off highway vehicles and they will have a safe mindset and an appreciation for risk and choice and help the rest of the group make better decisions.”
Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be taught about parental supervision and understanding the break and the throttle of the machine and how to learn to keep the machine balanced with no passengers and wearing the correct helmet and safety gear.
“School-aged kids, they are starting to operate on their own and it’s good for them to have an outside source to look to for safety information and it hopefully collaborates with what their parents are explaining or maybe fills in some gaps that they might not be receiving with the adults they ride with,” she said.
Zacaruk says the safety messages have become easier over the years because the students are receiving safety messages through bike safety, bullying courses and sport safety.
“Students are understanding peer pressure more than they ever did before. So to appreciate that we don’t want to push our friends to do something that they are not ready or capable to do is becoming an easier concept for students to understand,” said Zacaruk.
Grades 4-12 will focus on decisions and choices because it does not matter what equipment they’re riding, the safety is about how riders choose to ride and the decisions are made.
“We want to predict and prevent,” she said.
“Most accidents are predictable. Most accidents are preventable. If we stand back and we take a look at our activities and we think about it, we might find ways that we can minimize the risk but still have fun doing the sport.”
The tour will be at Senator Gershaw on Oct. 30 from 12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., Foremost School from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at Burdett School from 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.