Principals that bike have students that bike. This is Red Pine ES in Eagan MN on a brisk April morning. Principal Gary Anger embraces bicycling to school. The SRTS program at Red Pine started as a traffic management program because so many parents in cars were clogging the school’s parking lot that the buses couldn’t enter!

National Bike to School Day is May 9. It shouldn’t be hard getting more kids biking to school. I know this because when working with students as a part of the City Safe Routes to School pilot program, I would often ask them:

  • How many of you biked to school today? (No hands go up.)
  • How many of you own bikes? (All hands go up.)
  • How many of you would bike to school if your parents would let you? (All hands stay up.)

How much do kids love biking? Try this: ask a classroom of fourth graders to talk about their bikes or biking. (Tip: don’t try this during a SRTS workshop, because you will be there the rest of the day.) Kids will bike to school if adults would only let them.

Being a fan of biking to school–my first experience as a bike commuter–I am pleased to reveal another presentation for Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2012:
Bike It! Walk It! The Next Generation on the Move in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica High School students started  Bike It! Days in 2007 to motivate students to reduce auto use and global warming. With catchy music videos, a cool logo, and videos, the homegrown movement spread to local middle schools in 2009, when 1200 students walked, biked or took the bus. The biannual event now involves 14 schools in Santa Monica and Malibu and gets at least one third of District students out of the car.  Parents, teachers, City staff and school administrators provided key assistance through four generations of student leadership.  Student organizers will join Alison Kendall, Safe Routes Coordinator, and City of Santa Monica staff to describe their strategy and goals for the future.

This presentation hits on a number of our soft spots: continuity and sustainability of Safe Routes to School programming; biking, biking, biking!; the allure of the automobile for teenagers; and connecting human-powered transportation to the environmentally conscious young people. Cool!
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