Ditching their cars and opting for bicycles instead, parents and their children gathered at Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C., this morning to participate in National Bike to School Day.
This year marks the first celebration of this annual event, which is coordinated by the National Center for Safe Routes to School. The observance is part of a larger effort to promote physical activity and advocate for safe, reliable active transportation.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with how many communities and families are coming together to promote biking to school on this one day,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the center, in a statement.
More than 700 local Bike to School Day events are taking place today in communities across the country. At least 15 schools in Washington, D.C., have registered this year. The D.C.-based school with the greatest number of students to register for National Bike to School Day will win a life-sized golden bicycle trophy.
Kid cyclists at the Lincoln Park event received a National Bike to School Day Pioneer medal before riding off to class. Organizers also provided a bicycle helmet fitting station.
“The success of this first-ever National Bike to School Day illustrates that communities across the country understand the need to provide students with healthy options on how to get to school, and I look forward to seeing the program expand to more schools in the future,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in a news release.
To coincide with National Bike to School Day, members of Congress held a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol to unveil new polling data that show a majority of Americans support increased federal funding for sidewalks, bike lanes and bike paths. Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Tom Petri, R-Wis., were joined by public health advocates and business leaders at the event to discuss the results. According to the survey, 83 percent of respondents want to maintain or increase federal funds for active transportation. Read the full report for more poll results.
Bike to Work Day will take place later in May, which is National Bike Month.