Calling all community members, parents, teachers, and school officials: Looking for a great way to get K-8 students in your neighborhood to be more active? Why not host or help support a local Bike to School Day event this spring?
Here are 5 reasons to join and support the celebration on May 4th:
- Bike to School Day is one of the largest biking celebrations in the nation.
It’s true; Bike to School Day is a national movement started in 2012 that gives communities all over the United States the opportunity to bike to school together on the same day. Held on the Wednesday of the first full week in May, this event is a great way to get young people excited about active living and building a culture of health and wellness among schools. Bike to School Day builds off of its companion event, Walk to School Day, which happens the Wednesday of the first full week in October every year. This year, the Michigan Safe Routes to School program invites schools over the state to strap on their helmets and join the ride on May 4th!
- Last year in Michigan over 40,000 students participated in Bike to School Day.
Our participation numbers are great, but this May we want to go bigger by getting even more students invested in walking or biking to school. Imagine all the C02 we could save, all the young minds we can enliven, and the communities we can build by encouraging students to participate in active modes of transportation. Not to mention, all the fun. Whether you’re in Detroit or the U.P., Bike to School Day can be tailored to fit the needs of any school or community.
- Your Bike to School Day event can be as simple or extravagant as you wish.
Want to keep it simple? No problem. Invite students and families to decorate and ride their bikes to school on May 4th and gather for a morning assembly to celebrate. Give out awards for the most creative bike, most school spirit, most innovative design, etc. Does your school like to make a splash and WOW the crowds? Wonderful! Designate multiple routes where students can meet and ride to school in a bike train together, encourage city officials or college athletes to ride along with students, invite your local marching band to serenade students as they arrive to school, come up with a theme for your event and encourage students to dress up. Whatever your style is, Bike to School Day should be fun, accessible, and encouraging for all.
- Biking or Walking to School is essential to the well-being of young people.
In 1969 roughly 48 percent of students walked to school, now only 13 percent of students walk having shifted to being driven to school (U.S. Dot, 2009). Also on the rise are adult and child obesity and type 2 diabetes rates, with 30.6 percent of children in Michigan, ages 10-17, being labeled as obese. These cultural shifts affect a student’s health, especially when recess hours are also being cut and funding for physical education and athletic programs is limited. By encouraging students to bike or walk to school, not only can some of these issues be addressed, but students become better engaged with their surrounding community and develop key social skills in the process. Want to learn how to build a culture of biking and walking at your school beyond Bike to School Day? Check out the Safe Routes to School program to learn more, we’d be happy to work with you.
- There’s still time to register your school for Bike to School Day 2016 and receive a free toolkit!
You know you want to join us on May 4th; it’s going to be a blast! If you’re a school official or teacher, register your local school and receive a packet in the mail with helpful resources to plan your event as well as stickers for each one of your participating students. Are you a community member or partner who is interested in supporting your local school? Check out our list of registered schools and then contact your local principal to get involved.
Let’s keep the momentum going and make this the best year yet! Stay tuned next month for highlights from Bike to School Day events all over the state.