Bike to School Day success

Spinning the wheel for prizes at Southport Elementary. Photo by West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon

WALKSacramento’s Bike to School Day events on May 8 were a resounding success! Nearly 500 students rode their bikes to 12 schools in West Sacramento and South Natomas. As a national event, Bike to School Day capitalizes on the excitement surrounding National Bike Month to raise awareness of the need for Safe Routes to School. WALKSacramento encourages our Safe Routes to School project schools to participate in Bike to School Day to generate interest in year round walk and bike programs.

This year was the first year WALKSacramento has participated in Bike to School Day, but it definitely will not be the last. The day wasn’t a success just because more students biked to school. It was a success because more students want to ride to school again after May 8 and because the eyes of parents were opened to how positive riding to school can be. Over and over we heard students tell us that they wanted to ride before but this was the first time parents let them. Parents rode with their kids, dropped them off at meet-up locations to ride with other adults, or followed in their cars. It can be scary doing a new thing, but when everyone arrived at school safe and smiling the fear was gone and replaced by a desire to bike more often.

WALKSacramento helps parent volunteers and school staffs at each school organize Bike to School Day activities by assisting with recruiting volunteers, identifying meet-up locations and biking routes, promoting participation, leading ride groups, and handing out prizes for participating. As with any SRTS program, Bike to School Day depends on strong school-level support.  We provide resources to schools, but events would not be successful without the dedication of parent volunteers and school staffs being there to do everything from sending home fliers to high-fiving kids as they arrive at school. We are also grateful to the Sacramento Area Council of Governments for providing the May is Bike Month swag for participating students.

National Bike to School Day has passed, but the Safe Routes to School excitement will continue. West Sacramento schools are tracking student participation in walk and bike programs throughout May. Stonegate Elementary is even logging miles in the schools challenge on, and they’re coming for you, Davis schools! We also have some good work coming up this summer with Sacramento City Unified School District, so stay tuned for updates on that!