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Fort Collins leads state in Bike to School Day schools

On 22, Apr 2015 | No Comments | In Bicycling, Family Activities, News, Safety | By BAP Admin

On May 6, school children around the country will use pedal power to roll into school in celebration of National Bike to School Day.

This special day is a partner to the International Walk to School day, which is a time to take stock of the many benefits associated with traveling by means other than driving.

Last year, more than 2,200 schools participated in National Bike to School Day. In Colorado, 86 schools signed up on the national website (www.walkbiketoschool.org) for the event, including 16 Fort Collins schools, the most of any city in the state.

We hope to see many more local schools signing up for this year’s event. If your school isn’t already registered, talk to your principal or wellness team to see if it’s possible to plan a celebration of biking on that day. Then contact the city’s Safe Routes to School coordinator for ideas and support for your community. You could win a bike.

Generally speaking, most children in elementary school who live within a mile of school are considered capable of walking and riding to and from school, given that there is a safe route to do so. A safe route would include multiuse trails, low-traffic streets with sidewalks and safe ways to cross busy roadways such as overpasses/underpasses, signalized crosswalks and locations with crossing guards.

You and your student can reap the benefits active transportation has to offer, including:

Healthy habits: Students are more prepared to learn when they start their day off being physically active. When you walk or bike to school, often you create a healthy habit that can last a lifetime.

Cleaner environment: When you walk or bike to school, you help reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted by automobiles around your school.

Promoting safety: Raise awareness of how walkable and bikeable a community is and where improvements can be made.

It’s fun: You meet up with friends, hear and see things you wouldn’t riding in a car and there is that sense of independence you feel when riding to school.

Research shows that students who walk or bike to school benefit from increased physical activity, better behavior and better grades. So how about biking to school on May 6 and then keep it going the rest of the year!

Nancy Nichols is the Safe Routes to School coordinator for the city of Fort Collins (fcgov.com/saferoutes), a Bicycle Ambassador and member of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Education Coalition (BPEC)(bpeclarimer.org).

Dot Dickerson is a Safe Routes to School instructor, the VP of Bike Fort Collins and a member of BPEC.

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