Washington, DC Area Celebrates Bike to School Day

Christine GreenThis week has been jam packed with great Safe Routes to School events. The week kicked off on Sunday with the Takoma Park 5K for Safe Routes to School. The 5K run/walk, 1 mile fun run and ¼ mile youth run unite a community around walking and bicycling to school and in daily life. Leading up to the run, several schools participated in a running club that trains the students for the race and teaches them to be safe pedestrians and bicyclists. This is in addition to the regular pedestrian and bicycle education they receive through the Takoma Park Safe Routes to School program. Each of the five schools in Takoma Park have volunteers that help to organize the 5K and then schools split the proceeds to fund walking and bicycling activities. Last year, schools received about $4,500! Check out the local news story!

Monday started the Vienna, VA schools' fifth annual Bike/Walk Challenge with six schools participating. Two additional schools joined for Bike to School Day. The idea of involving all schools in one community spread to Reston, VA this year with nine schools participating in Bike to School Day! Although rain threatened Tuesday night, Wednesday morning was beautiful as Wolftrap Elementary School students reported on the news!
While there are too many Bike to School Day events in Greater Washington, DC to mention here, one specifically to note was in Arlington, VA. BikeArlington organized all 31 schools in the Arlington County Public School district to participate. This was the first year an organized district-wide effort took place.

The week ended with Gladys Noon Spellman Bike to School in Cheverly, MD. Physical education teacher Christine Gilliard-Arthur and Safe Routes to School Coordinator Tori Rhoulac-Smith host the event twice a year. Additionally, Mrs. Gilliard-Arthur teaches bicycle education in her classes. The event welcomed Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Cheverly Mayor Michael Callahan and Councilmembers RJ Eldridge and Mary Jane Coolen. The event brought together many members of the community including Maryland Park Bicycles who helped escort students to school safety. There is truly a Safe Routes to School culture at Gladys Noon Spellmen. Learn more about how they did it on the Greater Washington regional blog.

In each of the communities mentioned and the many more that participated throughout the region, the logistics of the story may differ. But in all of these communities, there is a commitment that our kids should be safe to walk and bicycle outside their front door, in the neighborhood and to school!