Bike to School Day: Virginia marks event on May 8

bike to school dayStudents across the Commonwealth are strapping on helmets and biking to school on Wednesday, May 8, for National Bike to School Day. So far, 289 Virginia schools have shared their planned activities on the official event website.

Each May, parents, school organizers, public health and transportation organizations, and localities partner to plan supervised bike trains, group rides and other activities to highlight safe riding practices and the benefits of student-powered transportation in hopes to encourage cycling habits throughout the year. Gov. Ralph Northam has also issued a proclamation designating May 2019 as Bike Month in Virginia, recognizing the importance and benefits of bicycling.

Organized through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT’s) Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program, Bike to School Day began in Virginia in 2012 with only 26 events and has continued to grow each year. In 2018, 286 events were recorded and that number is expected to be exceeded this year as more Bike to School events are expected this month.

“The ability to ride a bicycle, and to use it to navigate your community, is such an underappreciated skill. The sense of freedom it provides in young adults, not to mention the road safety skills they learn, is something that’s hard to find elsewhere at that age,” said Rob Williams, VDOT’s SRTS coordinator. “Bike to School Day is the perfect way to celebrate those who have learned those skills, and to encourage others to join.”

Over the past 12 years, the SRTS program has awarded more than $26 million to 600 elementary and middle schools for projects and programs aimed at encouraging students to bicycle and walk to school.

To see schools participating in Bike to School Day or for more information, visit the following websites:

Bicycling in Virginia

The Commonwealth has 858 miles of designated U.S. Bicycle Routes on Routes 1, 76 and 176. To learn more about biking in Virginia, VDOT’s bike map offers routes and information for cyclists. The site also offers information on laws and safety tips. Click here to view the map or order your own copy.

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