Wednesday, July 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Bike to school, then log in; scanners help families save a gallon

Jim Watson scans the rubber bracelets worn by Birch Lane Elementary School students who ride their bikes to school. Lining up are Zoë Senter, Carina Fettinger and Kelsey Calhoun. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
March 21, 2011 |

Remember the first time your child headed off to school without you? Wouldn’t it have been nice to receive instant confirmation of his or her safe arrival?

Well, Birch Lane Elementary School parents need imagine no more. Beginning this week, students there are literally being scanned in at the bike racks, with parents receiving an instant email, text message or phone call that their children have arrived on campus safely.

It’s all thanks to a pilot project brought to the school by the informal partnership of cycling enthusiasts, bike clubs and parents here in Davis.

“It’s an amazing combination of people,” said Davis Bicycles! member Tim Starback, who, along with Phil Cox, created the scanning system.

Starback and Cox are the gurus behind the Saveagallon program, which rewards Davis students for choosing alternative forms of transportation. Students and their families track how often — and how far — they travel by foot, bike, car pool, public transportation or any other non-gas-guzzling method, and log their miles on the Saveagallon website. Participating students are then eligible for prizes every month.

All told, 436 Davis children participated in the program last year, saving 1,710 gallons of gas.

As successful as the program was, Starback and Cox were hearing that students and their parents were often forgetting to log their miles. So to make that easier, as well as to ease parents’ concerns about their children biking or walking to school, they came up with what they hope will be the solution.

Children at Birch Lane were given rubber bracelets this week with barcode tags attached. Volunteers will be at the school every morning to scan the barcodes and the information will be recorded in a laptop computer, which will then send a text, phone or email alert to the student’s parents that the child arrived.

“I wish I had something like this when my son was in elementary school,” Starback noted. “I remember being so nervous when he first started going by himself and if I would have had a little bit of reassurance that he got there … that would have been great.”

Meanwhile, once scanned, each child’s miles will be logged automatically in the Saveagallon system.

“It’s just like a supermarket scanner,” said Birch Lane parent and bike coordinator Sanne Fettinger.

Fettinger and other volunteers will be at the Birch Lane bike racks every morning for the next four weeks “and then we’ll look at the feedback we get,” Starback said.

Given that it’s a completely new system, he expects glitches to crop up along the way.

“It’s just like any other new site,” he noted. “That’s why we’re rolling it out one school at a time.”

The scanners are being used at Miller Creek Middle School in Marin County, but only to log student miles, not to notify parents, Starback said.

“They wanted that too, but I wanted to be on site for that, so Birch Lane is the first pilot to use the notifying,” he said.

Fettinger and Starback stress that this is not a school or school district program and the barcode scan will not communicate with the school in any way, nor provide evidence of attendance. Birch Lane itself will not keep track of who scans in and who doesn’t.

Rather, the program is a product of Saveagallon; Davis Bicycles!, which paid for the scanner; and the Davis Bike Club, which provided the bracelets and barcode tags — 500 in all. Starback and Cox are covering the cost of texting and phone call notifications — which cost two cents apiece — and Fettinger and other parent volunteers will provide the labor involved.

For more information about Saveagallon, visit http://www.saveagallon.org.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at aternus@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8051.

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Are arachnids awesome or awful? Visit Bohart Museum to find out

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    NAMI program offers mental illness information, support

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Backpacks for Kids launches annual donation drive

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Architecture in Davis, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Speaker will spin some fishing tales at Davis meeting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Kids can paint their own Breyer horses at Davis store

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Grandparents support group meets weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Kaiser awards grants to Yolo nonprofits

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Exchange program seeks host families

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Wine-tastings will benefit YCCC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Pedro party will benefit Yolo Hospice

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Car lovers will speak Sunday at gallery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Racial diversity crucial to drug trials, treatments

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A4

    Enterprise is focus of Davis Roots talk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Forum

    U.S. is complicit in attack

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Extinguish extremism for peace

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    With profound gratitude

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Someday, there will be peace

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Former Davis man at crossroads: biking or artwork?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie golfer headed to men’s U.S. Amateur Championship

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Giants outlast Phillies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    A’s fall in extra innings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Blue Jays hitting upends Red Sox

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Pyrenees please Nibali, Rogers in Tour Stage 16

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Albergotti to discuss Armstrong’s doping scandal

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    Field to Fork: Skyelark Ranch, not a lark at all

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Name droppers: ASUCD hands out awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    .

    Arts

    Additional casting notice for ‘Hello Dolly’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Hear Los Tres de Winters on Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Picott to play at The Palms Playhouse

    By Kate Laddish | From Page: A7

     
    Fairy-tale romance in Barnyard Theatre’s ‘Pinky’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Soar to Neverland with DMTC’s ‘Peter Pan’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Village Homes to host Rita Hosking Trio

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Tomato Festival makes call for young artists

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6