CHAPEL HILL, N.C., May 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thousands of children across the country will be strapping on helmets, kicking up kickstands, and putting their mettle to the pedal as they ride their bikes to school on Wednesday, May 8, in celebration of the second annual National Bike to School Day.
Schools, cities, bicycle groups, public health organizations and parents alike are organizing bike rides and bike trains to school to highlight and celebrate the benefits of choosing student-powered transportation to school.
As of May 6, more than 1,300 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have registered Bike to School Day events on the official website, www.walkbiketoschool.org. The total number of events is expected to grow as celebrations continue throughout May, which is National Bike Month. Nine hundred and forty-seven schools participated in last year's inaugural event.
"The success of the second annual National Bike to School Day illustrates just how many communities understand the importance of providing students with safe, healthy and active options for their trip to school," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "At DOT, we're helping communities do just that by supporting livable neighborhoods, building new bike paths, and opening up more bike share programs."
Bike to School Day encourages a bike-focused celebration in the month of May and builds on the popularity and success of International Walk to School Day, which is celebrated across the country – and the world – each October.
"This year's participation in Bike to School Day is spectacular," said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which coordinates National Bike to School Day and International Walk to School Day. "The excitement and support for events nationwide is inspiring, and we couldn't be more pleased with how many communities and families are coming together to promote safe biking to school on this one day."
On Wednesday, Secretary LaHood will join students from 12 Capitol Hill schools to officially launch National Bike to School Day in Washington, D.C. The Lincoln Park event is organized by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization, and the National Center for Safe Routes to School, and representatives from national partner organizations - including League of American Bicyclists, National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, Safe Kids Worldwide, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership - will also be a part of the celebration.
"Wearing bike helmets gives kids the freedom to explore and have fun on their bikes, which is one of the best parts of riding a bike," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. "A correctly worn helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, with straps buckled and without rocking forward, backward or side-to-side. This Bike to School Day, remember always 'Use your head. Wear a helmet.'"
National Bike to School Day 2013 is a part of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month and the United Nations Global Road Safety Week—two global campaigns also working to improve pedestrian safety for young people.
Bike to School events are being held nationwide on Wednesday and throughout the month of May. To browse the names and locations of registered 2013 events, visit www.walkbiketoschool.org/go/whos-biking/2013.
About The National Center for Safe Routes to School
Established in May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The National Center serves as the clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program. The organization also provides technical support and resources and coordinates online registration efforts and provides technical support and resources for U.S. Bike to School Day and Walk to School Day and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation. The National Center is part of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.
SOURCE National Center for Safe Routes to School