Youth Active Transportation Safety Grant Results: Minnesota

Image of a police officer and a small child with a bike
Resource Type
State Highway Safety Showcase

Rochester, Minnesota is located in Olmsted County and is the third-largest city in the state. Over the past decade, approximately 40 pedestrians and bicyclists have been hit by drivers every year in Rochester. Although these incidents account for only 2.3% of all crashes in the city, they result in 30% of all fatal injuries.

The Rochester Police Department implemented 21st-Century Policing into its yearly plan and focused on increasing community engagement. As part of this initiative, officers engaged with children through the Rochester Cops & Kids Community Bike Program, which promotes bicycle safety by organizing bike rides, bike rodeos and fix-it clinics. 

By working towards creating a safer and more connected Rochester, the city is taking proactive measures to ensure the well-being of its citizens.

In collaboration with the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety (MOTS), RPD expanded its Rochester Cops & Kids Community Bike Program by teaching young leaders, including explorers and cadets, about pedestrian, bike, scooter and skateboard safety practices. These leaders were then trained to educate their peers on safety practices at events, such as bike rodeos. Additionally, RPD purchased safety gear and developed a multi-lingual public service announcement promoting micromobility.

  Image of an adult helping a child put on a bike helmet  Children riding bicycles through a road course

Community Outreach

The project entailed various activities that fostered engagement and outreach, such as the Cops & Kids Community Bike Program events, Safe City Nights outreach events, and the Police Explorers Program. 

  • Cops & Kids Community Bike Program - The program included a variety of safety demonstrations, such as bike rodeos and seat belt challenges. The RPD also hosted three bike rides for attendees to practice their new skills alongside police officers. The RPD hosted over 30 Cops & Kids events, reaching over 500 students. 
  • Safe City Nights - Through these events, the RPD was able to establish positive relationships with the community and educate them on transportation safety practices. Each event included activities with law enforcement, firefighters and other public safety partners. The RPD participated in six Safe City Nights events, reaching more than 1,000 participants per event. 
  • Police Explorers - This program offers young adults a chance to experience the policing profession by participating in community events, ride-alongs and training activities. Twelve explorers received training to assist at bike rodeos, focusing on learning how to properly fit bike helmets and adjust bikes to fit each child.

Image of two police officers and a child with a bike  Image of a police officer and a child with a bicycle

Project Impact

This program increased the number of young people who can safely travel via active transportation to school, activities, jobs, and other learning and social opportunities. The most significant accomplishment associated with the grant was developing trusting relationships between youth and law enforcement officials. At the same time, financially disadvantaged children now own a bicycle, scooter or skateboard and are trained to use these devices safely.

As a result of the grant, the program’s visibility and popularity have grown, prompting community members to donate bikes to the police department for distribution to underserved youth. This project solidified RPD’s collaboration with local schools and forged new partnerships, which will be crucial to the program’s success as it continues its community outreach efforts.

Resource Category
State Highway Safety Showcase