Nancy Nichols, Safe Routes to School Coordinator
The City of Fort Collins, Poudre School District (PSD) and local K-12 students will celebrate the seventh annual National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 9. Some Fort Collins schools, including Lesher Middle School and Blevins Middle School, will extend the celebration, calling it “Bike Week,” May 7-11.
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National Bike to School Day and Bike Week provide an opportunity for schools across the nation to join together to celebrate active transportation and the benefits to children’s health, academic achievement and the environment. Local schools encourage students to bike to school with activities such as free breakfast for bikers, bike parades, bike swaps, bike trains, bike rodeos and bike festivals.
“Every year we see more and more enthusiasm for this event,” said Nancy Nichols, Safe Routes to School coordinator for the City. “We’re at a point where all we have to do is mention National Bike to School Day, and schools jump on board for the celebration. Literally thousands of students across Fort Collins will be biking to school this week and especially on National Bike to School Day.”
The City’s Safe Routes to School program has a goal of getting 50 percent of local K-12 students biking and walking safely to school, which would help more students get the extra exercise they need outside of school hours. Reaching this optimistic goal could also help drastically reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by eliminating the need for so many parents to drive their kids to school.
Factors contributing to children’s safety when bicycling include: wearing a properly-fitting helmet, biking with a group rather than alone and choosing a safe route that employs multi-use paths and, if necessary, streets with slower speeds and lower traffic volumes. Children’s safety also depends on motorists’ awareness of bicyclists on the road and cautious driving anywhere children may be present, including neighborhood streets, school areas and parks.
“Fort Collins is known across the country for its amazing cycling opportunities, and we need to instill a love of safe cycling in the next generation” said Mayor Wade Troxell. “I grew up riding my bike to school, and I proudly endorse National Bike to School Day.”
To see whether your school is planning to participate in National Bike to School Day and Bike Week, visit your school’s website or the national website, walkbiketoschool.org.
For more information on the City of Fort Collins’ Safe Routes to School program, visit fcgov.com/saferoutes.