Mountain Biking

Elementary - Curricular 2023

  • Mountain Biking takes place in various off-road conditions (for example, gravel roads, ski trails, bike trails, etc).
  • If mountain biking takes place on paved surfaces (for example, bike paths, roads, sidewalks), also consult Cycling.
  • Consult Risk Management.
  • This activity page must be presented to the activity provider prior to the activity taking place. The activity provider must meet the minimum requirements listed on this page. For more information on planning trips using outside providers, consult Outside Activity Providers.


  • Determine that all equipment is safe for use (for example, no sharp corners, cracks, or splinters). Students must be encouraged to report equipment problems to the teacher.
  • When downhill mountain biking, appropriate safety gear for the facility must be worn.
  • The following statements refer to students’ own, borrowed or rented equipment:
    • Students must inspect bikes before use for working brakes and properly inflated tires.
    • Bicycle size must be appropriate for the rider.
    • A properly fitted (as per manufacturer's guidelines) and properly worn bicycle helmet certified by a recognized safety standards association (for example, CSA, Snell, ANSI, ASTM, BSI, AS) must be worn.
    • Protective eyewear (for example, sunglasses) must be worn.
  • One supervisor per group to carry:
    • a first aid kit
    • a bicycle tool kit, including a pump
    • a signalling device (for example, whistle)

Refer to the First Aid section for first aid equipment requirements.


  • Appropriate clothing and footwear must be worn (for example, no baggy pants). Clothing must be adequate for outdoor activity. Open-toed shoes or sandals are not permitted.
  • When long hair poses a safety risk it must be secured. Devices (for example, hair pins, elastics and barrettes) used to tie back long hair must not present a safety concern.
  • Students must not participate when the length of fingernails poses a safety risk to themselves or others.


  • Determine that all facilities are safe for use. Students must be encouraged to report facility problems to the teacher.
  • Define specific routes to the students so they are aware of the boundaries for activity, whether using a commercial or non commercial site.
  • When choosing a site the following conditions must be taken into consideration:
    • sun
    • wind
    • suitability of terrain
  • Provide students with map and/or clear directions.
  • Students must ride only on trails outlined by the teacher/supervisor.
  • In addition to the above, when selecting a non-commercial site, the site must include:
    • a level field with practice area
    • a long run-out at the bottom section of a larger hill
    • proximity to warmth, food and other facilities
  • Prior to initial use, when riding at a non-commercial site, teacher/ supervisor must do a safety ride-through to address safety and suitability.
  • For off-road routes determine that permission of the landowner is obtained.

Environmental Considerations

  • When environmental conditions may pose a risk to student safety (for example, thunderstorms [lightning] or student(s) with asthma, triggered by air quality), teachers must take into consideration their school board/school’s protocols and procedures related to:
    • environmental conditions (consult Weather); and
    • insects (for example, mosquitoes and ticks [consult the school/school board’s protocols and/or regional Public Health Department’s website]).
  • Students must receive instruction on safety procedures related to environmental conditions and be made aware of ways to protect themselves (for example, sun burn, heat stroke).
  • At all times the school board’s weather and insect procedures are the minimum standards. In situations where a higher standard of care is presented (for example, outside activity providers, facility/program coordinators), the higher standard of care must be followed.

Special Rules/Instructions

  • Be aware of students whose medical condition (for example, asthma, anaphylaxis, casts, previous concussion, orthopaedic device) may affect participation. Consult Medical Conditions.
  • Students must not participate in the activity until they receive information on concussion prevention specific to the activity, inherent risks of the activity (for example, outline possible risks and ways to minimize the risks), and procedures and rules for safe play. Students must receive instruction on the importance of reporting symptoms related to a suspected concussion.
  • Refer to school board policies and procedures (i.e., transportation, excursion/field trip) for communication with parents/guardians, the location of an off-site activity, means of transportation, supervision ratios, and parent/guardian permission.
  • Activities must be modified according to the age, ability level, language, and experience of students, number of participants, and the facility available.
  • Previous training, fitness level, and the length of time and intensity of physical activity must be taken into consideration.
  • Activities must be based on skills that are taught.
  • Skills must be taught in proper progression.
  • A proper warm-up and cool-down must be included.
  • While moving, students must not be required to close their eyes or be blind-folded.
  • Emphasize controlled movement when requiring students to walk or run backwards. Backward-running races are not permitted.
  • Rules of the Trail for Off-Road Cycling must be reviewed.
  • Ride on open trails only. Respect road closures.
  • Instruction must be given on the proper position of a bicycle helmet (for example, brow of helmet is at eyebrow level).
  • Students must cycle at a speed that allows them to control their bike in a safe manner.
  • Students must be encouraged to anticipate other trail users, especially around corners, and establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary, and pass safely.
  • Before going on mountain bike trails, students must demonstrate (to the teacher/supervisor) competency in:
    • stopping
    • changing gears
    • turning
    • going up and down hills in control
    • negotiating obstacles
  • Teacher/supervisor must select routes/trails suitable to students’ demonstrated ability.
  • If rider is using clips on their pedals, they must demonstrate to teacher/supervisor competency with their use during initial instruction.
  • Clips must be removed prior to going on trails if student cannot demonstrate competency in their use.
  • Communicate to students the importance of being aware of the location of other riders, around them, to avoid interference and collisions.
  • Emphasis must be placed on controlled riding.
  • Students must be aware of an emergency procedure in case of an accident.
  • Students must be informed that at any sign of difficulty they must get off their bikes and walk their bikes until it is safe to resume riding.
  • All riders must ride in groups of 3.
  • If a person gets hurt, one person goes for help and the other stays with the injured individual.
  • For non-commercial sites, a record of students and the route they will be travelling must be left in the school with an appropriate person.
  • Racing must not be done as an in-class activity.
  • No audio devices (for example, MP3 players) may be used.
  • When a student displays hesitation (verbally or non-verbally) with participating, the teacher must determine the reason(s) for doubt. If the teacher believes that a potential hesitancy during the skill could put the student at risk, the student must be directed toward a more basic skill, or be permitted to select a role within the activity at their comfort level, including the choice to not participate.
  • Prior to participation, the teacher must reference and apply their school board's policy on equity and inclusion as it affects student participation and makes appropriate accommodations/modifications to provide a safe learning environment. Consult the Intent subsection within the About section.
  • Adequate liquid replacement (personal water bottles, water fountains) must be accessible for students before, during, and after physical activity to prevent dehydration.


  • All activities must be supervised.
  • During initial instruction, on-site supervision is required.
  • On mountain bike trails/routes, there must be a minimum of 1 teacher/supervisor per group.
  • The level of supervision must be commensurate with the inherent risk of the activity. The level of risk is related to the number of participants, the skill level of the participants, the type of equipment used, and environmental conditions.
  • A volunteer could assist in the supervision of physical education activities. Examples of volunteers are educational assistants, retired teachers, co-op students, parents/guardians, early childhood educators, and teacher candidates. Refer to your school board’s policy regarding volunteers. These volunteers must be accompanied by a supervisor.
  • A teacher who is providing instruction and is unfamiliar with the activity (for example, no recent experience) must refrain from teaching the activity until assistance is provided by an appropriately trained staff or training is received.

Supervision Ratios

  • Ratio for Initial Instruction:
    • Primary: 1 teacher per 4 students
    • Junior: 1 teacher per 10 students
    • Intermediate 1 teacher per 12 students
  • After initial instruction, in-the-area supervision is required.
  • Ratio After Initial Instruction:
    • Primary: 1 teacher per 6 students
    • Junior: 1 teacher per 12 students
    • Intermediate 1 teacher per 15 students


  • If using an instructor from an Outside Activity Provider:
    • they must be trained in, understand, demonstrate and adhere to a directly relevant skill set for Mountain Biking. A relevant skill set is a described set of skills as recognized by mountain biking professionals (for example, the Professional Mountain Biking Instructor Association (PMBIA)).
    • All instructors must be at least 18 years of age or older to teach the introductory lesson and/or be an instructor.

First Aid

  • At least one instructor or an individual responsible for providing first aid must have current First Aid qualifications equivalent to or exceeding St. John Ambulance Emergency First Aid with CPR Level C + AED.
  • A working communication device (for example, cell phone) must be accessible.
  • Follow the school's first aid emergency response (consult First Aid Plan and First Aid Emergency Response) and the school board’s concussion protocol (consult Concussions).
  • An emergency action plan and response to deal with evacuations and lock downs must be followed and communicated to students.


  • In-charge Person:
    • Some activities refer to an “In-Charge” person. While the teacher is in-charge and responsible for the overall safety and well-being of students under their care, sometimes there are other personnel who must be identified as “In-Charge” related to specific situations (for example, a pool lifeguard). In activities where an “In-Charge” person is designated, that person, in consultation with the teacher, must make final decisions regarding safety of the students
  • Supervision:
    • The vigilant overseeing of an activity for regulation or direction. Activities, facilities, and equipment have inherent risks, but the more effectively they are supervised, the safer they become.
    • The Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education designate three categories of supervision, Constant visual supervision, On-site supervision, and In-the-area supervision. The categories take into consideration the risk level of the activity, the participants’ skill level and the participants’ maturity. The three levels of supervision described are not hierarchical but represent the type of supervision that an activity requires and the type of supervision that is inherently possible.
  • Supervisor:
    • A supervisor is defined as a teacher, vice-principal or principal with a current certification from the Ontario College of Teachers and under contract by the school/school board. The supervisor is legally responsible for the students.
  • Types of Supervision:
    • Constant Visual Supervision:
      • Constant visual supervision means that the teacher is physically present, watching the activity in question. Only one activity requiring “Constant visual” supervision may take place while other activities are going on.
      • Curricular example: During a track and field session, some students are involved in high jump, some are practising relay passing on the track while a third group is distance running around the school. For high jump, the teacher is at the high jump area and is observing the activity.
      • Intramural example: During a school outdoor special events day, some students are involved in parachute games, some in relay games, and others in a team scavenger hunt around the school. For parachute, the intramural supervisor is at the event and is observing activity.
    • In-the-area Supervision:
      • In-the-area supervision means that the teacher could be in the gymnasium while another activity is taking place in an area adjacent to the gymnasium. In-the-area supervision requires the teacher to be readily accessible.
      • In-the-area supervision occurs:
        • in activities in which students may be out of sight for periods of time and the location of the teacher is not nearby (for example, alpine skiing, cross-country running). At least one of the following criteria must be in place:
          • The teacher is circulating
          • The location of teacher has been communicated to students and volunteers
        • in single activities and those that may be combined (for example, other in- the- area activities such as badminton, table tennis, handball – wall) with the following criteria in place:
          • The teacher must be circulating between the activities and readily accessible
          • The teacher informs students of the location of the activities
      • Curricular example: During a track and field session, some students are involved in high jump, some are practising relay passing on the track while a third group is distance running around the school. For distance running, the students are running around the school and at times may be out of sight.
      • Intramural example: During a school outdoor special events day, some students are involved in parachute games, some in relay games, and others in a team scavenger hunt around the school. For a scavenger hunt, the students are running around the school grounds and at times may be out of sight.
    • On-site Supervision:
      • On-site supervision entails teacher presence but not necessarily constantly viewing one specific activity. Momentary presence in adjoining rooms (for example, equipment room) to the gym is considered part of “on-site supervision”.
      • Curricular example: During a track and field session, some students are involved in high jump, some are practising relay passing on the track while a third group is distance running around the school. For a relay, the students are practising on the track and can be seen by the teacher who is with the high jumpers.
      • Intramural example: During a school outdoor special events day, some students are involved in parachute games, some in relay games, and others in a team scavenger hunt around the school. For relay games, the students are participating on the playground and can be seen by the intramural supervisor.

Fri, 08/25/23 09:43 am

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