On Wednesday, May 4 , 2016, students across Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito and Carpinteria will join school children around the country by bicycling, skateboarding, scootering or walking to school on National Bike to School Day.
As part of the local CycleMAYnia festivities to celebrate National Bike Month, B2SD is being supported by COAST’s Safe Routes to School program. Working in conjunction with school parent champions, nearly all south coast public schools will be participating this year.
Schools will hold their own B2SD celebrations to encourage more biking and other sustainable transportation modes to school — not just May 4, but year-round!
As with last year, National Bike to School Day is also the final event day in COAST’s five-month “Walk & Roll Challenge,” in which 50 classrooms (nearly 1,200 students across 16 schools) are vying for the top walk and roll participation rate.
Each first Wednesday since January, 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!
On B2SD, some elementary schools will be organizing “bike trains,” informal, parent-led bicycling groups in which students stop at each other’s houses to pick up more bicyclists along the way to school.
COAST urges all drivers to be especially cautious on Bike to School Day and watch for the increased bicycle and pedestrian traffic!
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 3rd annual B2SD celebration.
Music, posters and snacks will welcome students as they arrive car-free in the morning, with more activities at lunch, including an active transportation trivia wheel and prize raffle.
Also part of CycleMAYnia, COAST is teaming up with Aliso Elementary School, the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition and Traffic Solutions to present Carpinteria’s second Family Bike Night (“Bici Familia”) from 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, May 20, 2016, where scores of local families will be treated to a free bilingual safety presentation, bike skills courses, bike maintenance areas, food and affordable helmets for purchase.
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 United States walked to school. In 2001, of students between the ages of 5-15, 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 1976-2004, the percentage of overweight children aged 6-11 almost tripled.
» Studies in some cities show that 17-26 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 Bike to School Day took place 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 holding spring walk and bike to school events for years. National Bike to School Day 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 Bike to School Day 2015 was held May 6, with Bike to School events taking place throughout the month of May. More than 2,600 schools in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia participated, nearly a 20 percent increase in schools from 2014.
» 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.
COAST (the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation) is a local nonprofit membership organization that promotes healthy and green ways of getting around, from biking and walking to taking the bus or the train.
It coordinates the regional Safe Routes to School programs, Santa Barbara Walks programs (Eastside Walks, Walking Wednesdays, Safe Routes for Seniors), CoastalRailNow, regional transit project ASERT and its latest initiative: Vision Zero.