Registration for Bike to School Events Still Open

April 28, 2015

It’s the ever-present challenge parents face every week day – getting the kids out of the house to arrive at school on time. With the clock ticking, parents and students scurry into cars headed for the bus stop or school drop-off line.

While driving is a convenient transportation option, the National Center for Safe Routes to School is encouraging families to consider biking to school as a part of this year’s Bike to School Day.

Taking place next week on May 6, families across the nation will put on their helmets and safety gear and head to school on their bikes with back packs in tow.

This annual event began in 1997 as the first ever National Walk Our Children to School Day. Since then, it’s grown in popularity and officially became National Bike to School Day in 2012.

In 2014, there were 2,200 Bike to School Day events registered throughout the nation – an impressive 30 percent increase in participation from the previous year. Event organizers are expecting an even larger turn out this year.

Bike to School Day is a family-friendly endeavor communities can enjoy together, but it holds a larger significance for child advocates and injury prevention experts.

The one-day event is designed to encourage community and government leaders to create more safe walking and bicycling programs, build new sidewalks and pathways, enforce stricter regulations for unsafe driving and encourage increased health behaviors among students and families.

“National Bike to School Day is an excellent way to promote positive community relationships and physical activity while sparking needed conversations about child safety,” said Terri Miller, MPH, CHES, Safe to Sleep campaign coordinator, DPH Injury Prevention Program, Division of Health Protection. “Motor vehicle crashes and unintentional injuries continue to remain the leading threats to child safety. Events such as Bike to School Day create a comfortable atmosphere for the public to engage in constructive conversations about these issues, as well as advocate for community changes that support safe and healthy environments for children.”

Realizing the geographic diversity of communities nationwide, the National Center for Safe Routes to School invites families to participate in a variety of ways.

For families that live too far from their schools, they are encouraged to designate a starting point as a meeting location for event participants or host a biking event at school during recess, an assembly or afterschool.

In addition to promoting overall safety, Bike to School Day is also an opportune time for parents and caregivers to teach children vital safe biking practices.

“We have a simple phrase that we always impart to families: ‘Use your head, wear a helmet,’” Miller said. “Helmet use is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes.” 

Safe Kids Worldwide recommends five major safety tips for child bikers – ride on the right side of the road; make eye contact with drivers; use reflectors when riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening; always supervise children on bikes; and most importantly, wear a helmet.

Bike to School Day events are free to all participants. To find an event in your area, or register your own Bike to School event in Georgia, visit www.WalkBikeToSchool.org

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