Wednesday, October 7, is the International Walk (or Bike) to School Day, sponsored by Safe Routes to Schools. I know it’s rather late to be making much of a push for this, but I’m wondering what we, as the local bicycling community, might be able to do to promote and support this initiative?
Do any readers in the area have school-aged children? Do any readers work at a school or have contacts with teachers or administrators? Does anyone happen to know whether any sort of Safe Routes to Schools effort is already underway anywhere in the county, or if any attempt has been made in the past to get something going?
The following is taken directly from the Safe Routes to School website:
Safe Routes to School programs enable community leaders, schools and parents across the United States to improve safety and encourage more children to safely walk and bicycle to school. In the process, programs are working to reduce traffic congestion and improve health and the environment, making communities more livable for everyone.
Given the interest that many of us in and around Adrian share in advocating for increased bicycle use and bike-friendly infrastructure, Safe Routes to Schools seems like a particularly good angle to work (for lack of a better way to phrase it). I say this in part because of all the resources available to equip schools, parents, community leaders, and so on for successful implementation and maintenance of a program. But I also say it because the Safe Routes to School program represents a particularly salient example of how bicycling and bike-friendly infrastructure benefits everyone in a community, not just cycling enthusiasts who ride for sport.
So, what say you? Given how little time we have between now and October 7, maybe we could coordinate with just a single elementary school. Any ideas? Perhaps the first thing we do is offer (as many of us as possible) to be bicycle escorts that day, either in the morning or after school. If some drop-off/starting locations could be identified and routes coordinated, we could each ride with small groups to ensure that participants ride properly and arrive at their destination safely.