Walt Whitman Middle School was one of more than 30 Fairfax County public schools participating in National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 7. National Bike Day is part of the national program Safe Routes to School.
The program is designed as an effort to promote greater physical activity and reduce traffic congestion, most especially in an area that heavily relies on cars to get to and from most locations. Bike to School Day was also a way to enjoy the area's trails and beauty while biking with teachers and friends from school.
To prepare students and school officials for the exercise, the schools held planning and bike assemblies, compiled information packets and provided tips on its Safe Routes to School web page. Support also came in the way of bike helmet giveaways, bike valet parking, free bike charms and various receptions for participating students and their parents.
Safe Routes to School was sponsored by a grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation. The program's goal is to encourage more physical activity for kids and to lessen the impact of cars in the area.
“While it is great to promote biking to school on one day, we would like to see schools regularly encouraging active transportation as the default for getting to school and reducing the number of cars in kiss and ride. With less traffic around schools biking and walking becomes much safer and reduces air pollution caused by idling cars waiting to pick up or drop off,” said Sally Smallwood, Safe Routes to School Coordinator for the FCPS Office of Safety and Security.