It’s the inaugural Bike to School Day tomorrow.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School, in partnership with the League of American Bicyclists, has coordinated the day. It takes off the increasingly popular Walk to School day, held every October.
Like Walk day, Bike day is intended to challenge the driving culture that has increasingly come to dominate school drop-off.
Only 16 percent of children walk or bik to school regularly — down from 42 percent in 1969, according to a study published in 2008 in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.
Though it’s a one-day push, organizers hope it will lead families to consider biking (or walking) to school every day.
“It is fun, it is healthy, it results in a cleaner environment, it promotes safety, and it has other community benefits such as reducing traffic congestion,” said Jennifer Hefferan, the District’s Safe Routes to School coordinator.
Hefferan is working with several schools in D.C. on special events for Bike to School Day. Here’s a rundown of a few:
In Southeast, Lincoln Park has been designated as a morning “pit stop” where parents can park, unload the bikes and let their kids pedal to area schools.
At Key Elementary School in Northwest, Councilwoman Mary Cheh is scheduled to celebrate the event by welcoming students who arrive by bicycle.
At Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Northeast, school officials plan to levy a one-day car tax. All parents who drive to the school will be asked to pay $1. To avoid it, parents can drop kids at the Franciscan Monastery parking lot, where parent volunteers will walk or bike with them to school. (Students who walk or ride bikes on this day will also have an excused tardy.)
Of course, there’s no need to join a group or event.
Bike to School Day can be marked with a smaller celebration that involves little more than a kid, two wheels and maybe a parent huffing along beside him.
Will your child bike to school tomorrow?
Does your family face obstacles in walking or biking to school regularly? What are they?