Most children learn to ride a bike on a neighborhood street or nearby park or school. The focus is on learning balance, steering, stopping, control and the sheer joy of that first ride! But where do kids learn the safety tips of riding especially in proximity to other riders, pedestrians and motor vehicles? In many places around the world, there are places called “Traffic Gardens”, “Safety Towns” or “Bike Playgrounds” which are small-scale courses with roadways, sidewalks, crossings, intersections, etc. where children can learn safe biking and walking in a safe and fun environment. Some are simple courses painted on asphalt while others like Safety Town in Druid Hill Park in Baltimore are miniature towns with buildings, stop lights and other 3 dimensional objects. “Bike Rodeos” temporarily set up with chalk, cones and other devices have been provided by Anne Arundel County Police Bike Patrol, Annapolis Police Bike Patrol, BikeAAA, PedalPowerKids and other organizations around the county. BikeAAA set a goal in 2018 to create Anne Arundel County’s first permanent Bike Safety Park and now we have two in the county open for use and also available for safety education programs.
Lindale Middle School Bike Safety Park, Linthicum Heights, MD
The Lindale MS Bike Safety Park is located on the basketball courts at the far corner of the lower parking lot at Lindale M.S., 415 Andover Rd, Linthicum Heights, MD. It is generally open to the public and will also be the site for bike safety programs hosted by various organizations. The site is conveniently located near the BWI Trail, an 11 mile paved trail around the perimeter of BWI Airport. The park was created through a collaboration of many partners led by BikeAAA and Lindale M.S. and includes the AACPS STEM program, Leadership Anne Arundel, Anne Arundel County Recreation & Parks, Anne Arundel County Police Bike Patrol and Future History Now artists which worked with the Lindale M.S. Arts students to adorn it with art in the “island” areas. Mo Gaba, a former student at Lindale, became a beloved and inspirational superfan and radio personality of the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens. Mo bravely fought cancer from the age of 9 months and dealt with blindness and other disabilities through his school age years. He graduated from Lindale in June of 2020 and succumbed to cancer on July 28, 2020. Lindale wanted a mural in memory of Mo and the bike course became the perfect canvas. A rendering of Mo was developed by the Future History Now artists and Lindale students and placed in the central island. Funding for the park was provided by BikeAAA and the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County.
Seven Oaks Community Bike Park, Odenton, MD
Guided by the leadership of BikeAAA member and Anne Arundel Bicycle Advisory Commission member Glenn Gunter, the Seven Oaks Community in Odenton, MD created a Bike Safety Park from an unused parking area. The Seven Oaks Community Association funded the creation of the course and BikeAAA funded a sign to guide families in the use of the course. The Seven Oaks Bike Park is located at Plebes Circle, Odenton, MD.