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Bike Education in Hawaii…using federal funds

Recently there was discussion in the comments about federal spending on infrastructure and on education programs. Kauai Path, Inc., a non-profit in Hawaii, offers a fine example of federal money funding bicycling education. Using funds from a federal “Communities Putting Prevention to Work” Grant from the CDC, Kauai Path Inc. will train 20 to 30 new League Certified Instructors (LCIs) in the state during two weeks in February. The new instructors will train more than 200 school students and 50 adults and implement a new bicycling curriculum in the school system. It will be done in coordination with a Safe Routes to School program on Kauai.

“We on Kauai are focusing our effort in the areas of increasing levels of physical activity and improving nutrition, thus decreasing obesity rates,” says Kauai Path’s executive director, Randall Blake. According to the announcement of the grant, which is being administered through State of Hawaii Department of Health, Kauai pledged to “increase physical activity and improve nutrition through social support, culturally appropriate education,” and “improve active transport and public transportation infrastructure,” among other things.

Kauai Path photo

The CPPW funds will be used to train the LCIs and obtain bikes, helmets and safety vests to be used for bike education curriculum. But bicycling education is just one component of a multipronged approach. Kauai Path Inc. will also publish 40,000 copies of a “Green Map,” which will list bicycling paths, mountain bike and hiking trails, and the island’s county and state parks.  It will also show the location of vendors of locally-grown, fresh produce. For those technologically inclined, the map will be also made available for mobile web devices.

There is also a planning component. Kauai Path Inc. is funding two planning projects to expand their bike and pedestrian shared use path network on the island. Members of Kauai Path Inc. are serving on Citizen Advisory Committees to the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s Regional Long Range Land Transportation Plan for the County of Kauai, and on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the Statewide Long Range Transportation Plan.

This multi-dimensional approach, Blake says, “will have both short- and long-term effects on increasing bicycling in Hawaii, which in turn will reap numerous health benefits as our efforts combat the obesity epidemic.”

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