The first ever national event coordinated by the National Center for Safe Routes to School and partner, the League of American Bicyclists, schools across the country will join together in kid-focused local celebrations of bicycling that builds on the energy of 2012 National Bike Month.
“The long term goal of this event is to get more and more students to choose biking and walking over a car or bus ride. Safe Routes to School benefits not only the kids through safety and educational programs, but entire neighborhoods by building sidewalks or creating bicycle paths. Communities get an entire face-lift,” said Jess Mathews, coordinator with Safe Routes to School.
But the transition to biking to school isn’t easy for all students. “Many school children face a variety of barriers when biking to school. There may be speeding cars, a lack of safe bike lanes and bike theft in their neighborhood.”
Mathews’ organization enables and encourages children to safely walk and bike to school through programs that focus on safety, health and community involvement. “The students want to bike so our Bike to School Day will bring attention to barrier issues and help resolve them.”
Safe Routes to School provides planning resources to elementary and middle schools who participate. And National Bike to School Day also gives high school students an opportunity to explore independent life without a car.
It is exciting to see these young cyclists leading by example. Schools representing US cities and even Mexico City have registered for the Bike to School Day and will be showing off their commitment to alternative transportation. The organizers hope that this day will become an annual event and encourage even more children to safely bike to school.