Tuesday, May 17 is Bike to School Day, a day where students from more than 20 Santa Barbara and Goleta schools get on their bikes to show their concern for the environment by both biking and walking to school.

Biking and walking to school is the easiest way to get exercise, reduce air pollution and traffic congestion, and to have a good time! As most of us probably remember from our childhood, riding your own bike was a feeling of pure joy and adventure. We want to rekindle this feeling and help out the environment as well.

Kids who don’t have bikes are strongly encouraged to walk to school. The goal of Bike to School Day is to get kids and parents to realize that this is easy and fun, and that they’ll make walking and biking to school a regular habit. Principals, bike shop owners and officers from the Goleta sheriff’s unit will all be leading bike trains at participating schools.

Bike to School Day gets kids on their bikes! We are forming bike trains and walking school buses for the schools that have the enthusiasm to organize them. There will be someone either on a bike or walking to pick up kids along a specified route with allotted times for pickup.

Safety is a huge concern. Drivers should always be aware when they are driving through school zones, but should take extra care to watch out for kids walking and biking on May 17. Police officers will be out in extra numbers patrolling this day. According to the police, parents are usually the main offenders when it comes to speeding through school zones and rolling through stop signs.

All schools will be given a flier to remind parents of the rules of the road when walking and biking. If kids are walking or biking with a bus or a train, they will be taught the correct way to travel.

Bike to School Day is one of the many events during cycleMAYnia, a celebration of the bicycle in May. If you want to participate in Bike to School Day, or want to know if your school is taking part, contact Kim Stanley-Zimmerman at kim@coast-santabarbara.org. Bike to School Day is sponsored by COAST (Coalition for Sustainable Transportation) and its Safe Routes to School Program.

— Caitlin Carlson is a project director for COAST (Coalition for Sustainable Transportation).