On Wednesday, May 9, 2012, schools across the country celebrated the inaugural National Bike to School Day.
Many schools across Illinois and the Chicagoland region participated, and the Active Transportation Alliance was able to support a number of them with resources and guidance. For some schools, the celebration complemented programming they already had in place. For others, this was a special day that will hopefully kick start more activities like this in the future.
Among the schools celebrating biking for the first time was Alcott Elementary School in Chicago. Organized by the school’s Green Club, the school first hosted a pre-event assembly with the Chicago Bicycling Ambassadors teaching students about bike and helmet safety.
On Bike to School Day, parents and some teachers, with some Active Trans staff support, held day-long activities for all students. Those with a helmet and a bike or scooter were able to participate in a bike safety course, while all other students participated in bike safety activities. In all, over 400 students participated.
At Northside College Prep, a group of students from the Chicago Studies class encouraged other students to bike to school, securing various incentives like folders, Clif Bars and highly coveted off-campus lunch passes for students who were able to bike to school that day.
Within the school, 8–10 percent of students biked, which is a great number both because this was a first-time event and because Northside is a selective enrollment high school, meaning it draws students from across the city to apply and attend, not just those who live in the neighborhood. You can read more about the event and see tons of pictures on the students’ blog: www.ncpbikeproject.blogspot.com
In the suburbs, Active Trans staff visited events held at Hawthorne Elementary in Elmhurst and Apollo Elementary in Des Plaines. At Hawthorne, students biking to school wearing helmets received a biker charm, and all students using active transportation received a green footprint stamp as part of their regular Walk on Wednesday activities.
To continue the festivities on Thursday, they held a bike rodeo after school. At Apollo, students were encouraged to decorate their bikes for their regular Wednesday Walk to School Day, and those with bicycles participated in on-bike practice during their lunch recess time. Additionally, a bicycle safety assembly was held, with two students winning new bike helmets provided by Lutheran General Hospital.
We are always excited to help schools put on biking and walking events and look forward to supporting Walk and Bike to School Day events in the future. If you’d like more information on the work we do to support children and youth walking and biking, visit www.activetrans.org/education or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.