A student at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, Va., shows off his tire at the event for National Bike to School Day.
More than 1,300 schools in the D.C. area and across the nation are taking to the streets and sidewalks today to celebrate National Bike And Walk To School Day.
At Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, Va., dozens of students strapped on their helments to pedal to school today. Organizers say these events have several lessons they hope to impart on a younger generation of cyclists:
- It builds on the success of International Walk to School Day, in encouraging kids to stay healthy be remaining active.
- Riding to school offers a much more environmentally-friendly option than getting a ride from parents.
- There's an opportunity to reinforce the importance of using a helmet and practice safe biking.
"Wearing bike helmets gives kids the freedom to explore and have fun on their bikes, which is one of the best parts of riding a bike," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide in a release. "A correctly worn helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, with straps buckled and without rocking forward, backward or side-to-side."
Chris Eatough, program manager of Bike Arlington was on-hand to promote safety.
"Obviously, Arlington is already quite bike-friendly and walk-friendly. We have a lot of nice, quiet residential streets, we have a lot of bike lanes, we have a lot of good crossings of the streets," Eatough says. "We just hope that drivers stay aware and are on the lookout for people walking and biking."
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined students from 12 D.C. schools to kick off the first National Bike to School Day in the District.
"The success of the second annual National Bike to School Day illustrates just how many communities understand the importance of providing students with safe, healthy and active options for their trip to school," Lahood said in a release. "At DOT, we’re helping communities do just that by supporting livable neighborhoods, building new bike paths, and opening up more bike share programs."
Lest any adults feel left out of the fun, Bike To Work Day is next Friday, May 17.