BE THE CHANGE TAKE THE CHALLENGE is a project developed by students at Gülüç İbrahim İzmirli Anadolu Lisesi,Karadeniz Ereğli ,TURKEY. In our project, we focused on the safety rules for cycling and tried to raise awareness on traffic rules and signs for cyclists.

The ideas

There are different kinds of transport available to us; the type we choose to use will depend on the purpose for travelling, length of the journey, etc. Today, apart from cars and busses, which are most popular types of transport for years, number of cyclists is increasing every day as it is a cheap and environmentally friendly method of transport.

For the last 2 years there has been an increase in number of students in our school who prefer coming to school by cycling instead of by school bus. Our school has even built up a parking zone for students' bicycles. In the beginning of this school we set up a cycling team in our school and participated in several races, in all of which we won the first prize in Zonguldak Province.

After setting up our project team, some of whom are in our cycling team, we decided to focus on raising awareness on the Safety Rules for Cycling. The reason for choosing this topic is that unfortunately we sometimes read about the accidents in which cyclists are involved. Most of these accidents are not severe but sometimes these accidents can be fatal which grieves the whole city.

The first step was conducting a survey via Google Forms directed to the students in our school. The survey results were a base for the practical part of our whole project. According to the results, most of the participants ignore using helmets, knee pads and other safety equipments while cycling. Another significant result of the survey was that most of the students come across risky behaviors due to not obeying to traffic rules, or not knowing or not understanding the meaning of the traffic signs. After seeing the results we decided to focus on safety rules, traffic rules and traffic signs for cyclists during the project.

The initiatives

''BE THE CHANGE TAKE THE CHALLENGE !-Road Safety For Cyclists ''is the name of our campaign in which  the main goal is to train students to behave safely while cycling. The target group of our project is all students in our school (9th ,10th,11th and 12th Graders ,total 810 students ) and other high school students (approximately 8000 students) in our city.

We divided into 2 groups for the topics ''Safety Equipments for Cycling '',''The Traffic Rules and The Traffic Signs  for cyclists''. Each group collected data and information on the Internet, from state authorities and NGO of Cycling and professional cyclists living in our city as well as Gülüç İbrahim İzmirli Anadolu Lisesi Cycling coaches .

For our first topic we prepared posters for raising awareness of wearing safety equipments during cycling. For the second topic we prepared didactic material: a leaflet including the rules we have to follow during cycling and the traffic signs and their meanings.

Our initial plan for the project was to organize seminars and present our ideas and materials to all of the students not only in our school but also to other students in our city in April, before the pandemic. In 16 March the schools were off due to the Covid-19 pandemic and we were all under quarantine due to the cases in our city. At first were all disappointed and frustrated for the project .Thanks to Mrs Çankırlı's suggestion for using distant learning tools we started our initiatives and presentations using Zoom Meetings. In April we had 8 meetings (100 participants for each) hosted by Mrs.Çankırlı in which we had a chance to present our materials to all of the students in 9th,10th,11th and 12th grades  in our school. In the Zoom meetings our cycling team coaches Mr.Aksoy and Mrs Saluk lectured the students on the importance of wearing safety equipments during cycling, why to obey the traffic rules and the explanation of the traffic signs for cyclist by presenting our leaflet .

The leaflet and our posters were sent to school groups via WhatsApp application .We also shared our project and materials with other students in our city via social media .We disseminated our outputs via our school's social media accounts.

We all believe that our project will make young people more aware of the importance of wearing safety equipment, being aware of traffic rules we have to obey and learning what each sign means while we are cycling.

We have been experiencing extraordinary circumstances because of Covid-19 pandemic all over the world. We were all in quarantine, staying at home safe, but thanks to our project we learned team and collaborative work, critical thinking and we also developed our ICT skills.


Other stories in Turkey