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Santa Barbara County Students Will Roll En Masse for National Bike to School Day

On Wednesday, May 6, Carpinteria will join school children around the country by bicycling (or skateboarding, scootering or walking) to school on National Bike to School Day (B2SD).

As part of the local CycleMAYnia festivities to celebrate National Bike Month, B2SD is supported by the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation’s Safe Routes to School (COAST, SR2S) program.

Working in conjunction with school parent champions, nearly all South Coast public schools will participate this year. Schools will hold their own B2SD celebrations to encourage more biking and other sustainable transportation modes to school — not just on May 6 but year-round. We invite you to visit area schools as kids ride, scoot or walk in Wednesday morning to report on the fun and positive effects of B2SD.

It’s no coincidence that B2SD is also the final event day in COAST’s four-month Walk & Roll Challenge, in which 56 classrooms (over 1,300 students across 15 schools) are vying for the top Walk & Roll participation rate. Each first Wednesday since February, these classrooms have tallied students that walk, bike or otherwise roll to school. The classroom with the highest average participation rate will win a trip to Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond. Our second- and third-place classrooms will each win a pedal-powered bike-blender smoothie party at their school. Who will be victorious? Click here to see the Challenge results.

On B2SD, some elementary schools will organize “bike trains”: informal, parent-led bicycling groups in which students stop at each others’ houses to pick up more bicyclists along the way to school. COAST urges all drivers to be especially cautious on B2SD and watch for the increased bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

But the fun and excitement isn’t just for the primary grades. COAST is working with student-leadership team members at Dos Pueblos High School to put on some cool activities for DP’s second annual B2Sd. Live music and snacks will welcome students as they arrive car-free in the morning (leadership members will hold a sign saying “You Could Have Been There By Now!” that those arriving in the line of backed-up cars will see), as well as events at lunch such as bike-blended smoothies, a tricycle ‘snail race’ and a raffle for donated prizes including a new hybrid bike. And over at Santa Barbara High School, Team Soil will perform a high-energy professional BMX stunt bike show during lunch.

And tonight, Friday May 1, COAST will kick off CycleMAYnia by teaming up with Carpinteria Family School, Traffic Solutions and the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition to present Carp’s first Family Bike Night (‘Bici Familia’) at the Carpinteria Children’s Project at Main School (5201 8th St.), where scores of local families will be treated to a free bilingual safety presentation, bike skills courses, learn-to-ride & bike maintenance areas, free food and low-cost helmets for purchase. We invite you to stop by if you can to report on all the family fun. A similar Family Bike Night will take place (for the second year) at Adams School in Santa Barbara on June 5.

About Safe Routes to School

The Safe Routes to School program was established in response to alarming national trends. In 1969, 42 percent of students in the U.S. walked to school. In 2001, of students between the ages of 5 and 15, that number had dropped to as low as only 16 percent. Less than half of students who live within a mile of school walk or bike there even once per week. Between 1976 and 2004, the percentage of overweight children aged 6 to 11 almost tripled! Studies in some cities show that 17 to 26 percent of morning rush-hour traffic can be school-related. In May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School was established to assist communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school.

About National Bike to School Day

The first-ever National B2SD took place on May 9, 2012, in coordination with the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Month. Almost 1,000 local events in 49 states and the District of Columbia joined together to encourage children to safely bicycle or walk to school. The event builds on the popularity of International Walk to School Day, which is celebrated across the country — and the world — each October. Many communities and schools have been held spring walk- and bike-to-school events for years. National B2SD provides an opportunity for schools across the country to join together to celebrate and to build off of the energy of National Bike Month in May.

National B2SD 2014 was held on May 7, and bike-to-school events took place throughout the month of May. More than 2,200 schools in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia participated, an almost 30% increase in schools from 2013. If just half of the students in an average-sized elementary school biked, rolled or walked to school, their impact could eliminate over 39 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. That’s the equivalent of the carbon-removing abilities of 1,000 trees!

About the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation

COAST, a local nonprofit membership organization, promotes healthy and green ways of getting around from biking and walking to taking the bus or the train. We coordinate the regional SR2S programs, Santa Barbara Walks programs (Eastside Walks, Walking Wednesdays, Safe Routes for Seniors), CoastalRailNow, regional transit project ASERT and our latest initiative, Vision Zero.

For more information and ways to get involved, please visit or e-mail us at [email protected].

— Barry Remis represents the Coalition of Sustainable Transportation.

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