CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Tomorrow, for the first time ever, communities across the country will join together to celebrate National Bike to School Day.
Schools, cities, bicycle groups, public health organizations and parents alike are organizing bike rides and bike trains to school to highlight and celebrate the benefits of choosing student-powered transportation to school.
To date, more than 700 Bike to School Day events in 49 states and the District of Columbia have already registered on the official website, www.walkbiketoschool.org. And the total number of participating schools is expected to grow throughout May, which is National Bike Month.
“We knew there was support for a spring bike to school day, as many local bike-focused events have been held in the past,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which coordinates National Bike to School Day and International Walk to School Day. “But the turnout for this first-time event is spectacular! We couldn’t be more pleased with how many communities and families are coming together to promote biking to school on this one day.”
Bike to School Day encourages a bike-focused celebration in the month of May and builds on the popularity and success of International Walk to School Day, which is celebrated across the country — and the world — each October.
“Since its creation in 2005, the Safe Routes to School program has helped students in over 12,000 schools stay safe, healthy, and active when they walk or bike to school,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The success of this first-ever National Bike to School Day illustrates that communities across the country understand the need to provide students with healthy options on how to get to school, and I look forward to seeing the program expand to more schools in the future.”
On Wednesday in Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Park, David Strickland, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator, will join students from at least 12 Capitol Hill schools to officially launch National Bike to School Day. The event is organized by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization. Special guests will help mark the occasion by awarding “National Bike to School Day Pioneer” medals to students. Representatives from Safe Kids Worldwide will also hold an on-site helmet fitting station for students and parents.
“Washington D.C. has a population of just over 600,000 and the District has 15 schools registered for Bike to School Day — that’s more than many states,” said Jennifer Hefferan, Washington D.C.’s State SRTS Coordinator. “I’m very pleased with this turnout and the level of excitement this first-ever Bike to School Day is getting in Washington D.C.”
Bike to School events are being held nationwide on Wednesday and throughout the month of May. To browse the names and locations of registered 2012 events, visit www.walkbiketoschool.org/go/whos-biking/2012.
The National Center, which serves as the information clearinghouse for the Federal Safe Routes to School program, planned National Bike to School Day in partnership with the League of American Bicyclists, the organization that leads the celebration of National Bike Month. Other partners for the national event include each State SRTS Coordinator, Bell Sports, Safe Kids, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) and Saris Cycling Group.
About The National Center for Safe Routes to School
Established in May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The National Center serves as the clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program. The organization also provides technical support and resources and coordinates online registration efforts and provides technical support and resources for U.S. Bike to School Day and Walk to School Day and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation. The National Center is part of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.