Wednesday is Bike to School Day
Students across the commonwealth are encouraged to strap on helmets and grab their bicycles for National Bike to School Day on Wednesday. A record 256 Virginia schools have already posted their planned activities on the official event website.
Each year in May, parents, as well as organizers in schools, towns, and public health and transportation organizations work together to plan supervised bike trains, group rides and other activities to highlight safe riding practices and the benefits of student-powered transportation with the hope that it will encourage cycling throughout the year. Governor Ralph Northam has also issued a proclamation designating May 2018 as Bike Month in Virginia, recognizing the importance and benefits of bicycling.
Organized through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) 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 2017, 226 events were recorded. This year has already surpassed that number, and more Bike to School events are expected to be held throughout May, which is also National Bike Month.
“The continued rise in the number of schools participating each year is a testament to how successful this program is,” said Rob Williams, VDOT’s SRTS coordinator. “While many of the same schools participate year after year, we always see new schools deciding to join the fun. I have no doubt that these newcomers will be back next year.”
Over the past 11 years, the SRTS program has awarded more than $25 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, see the following websites:
Bicycling in Virginia
The commonwealth has 858 miles of designated U.S. Bicycle Routes on Routes 1, 76 and 176, as well as 549 lane miles of bike lanes and 1246 miles of shared-use paths and single track trails for mountain biking. “May is a great month to explore Virginia on a bicycle. Make sure you are clearly indicating where you want to go, being lawful and always wearing a helmet,” said John Bolecek, VDOT’s statewide bicycle and pedestrian planner.
If you’d like to learn more about biking in Virginia, VDOT’s newly updated bike map offers routes and information for cyclists. The website also offers information on laws and safety tips. Click here to view the map or order your own copy.