ARLINGTON, Va. — Cheering teachers, colorful banners, and learning a new route is part of the fun for students and their parents on the second annual National Bike to School Day.
Hundreds of young people at McKinley Elementary School bypassed the daily bus ride and traveled to school on bicycles, scooters and on foot.
At McKinley Elementary School, principal Colin Brown says the event has many benefits.
“It’s celebrating the environment, it’s celebrating lifelong fitness and also bringing the community together,” Brown says while school safety patrol volunteers place orange traffic cones in the circular driveway to block usual auto traffic.
“Of course the kids look at it as a novelty, and it’s just fun,” he says.
Heather Curry escorted her daughter, Marley, who wore a bright purple helmet as she pushed her silver Razor scooter up the hill in front of McKinley.
“We don’t usually have time to do something like this, because we’re busy rushing off to work or school, so this is just a special treat today,” says Curry.
“This is a good excuse to get out and ride,” says Butch, who also helped his 8- year-old daughter, Karina, lock her bike to the rack in front of school.
“I ride to work every day.”
Karina learned that a morning commute doesn’t always go as planned.
“My backpack kept getting caught in the gears on the bike, so I had to keep pulling it up,” she says.
One father arrived at school on a tandem bike with 6-year-old daughter Julie.
“My dad rides in the front and I ride in the back,” she says.
Her brother, James, normally limits his cycling to his neighborhood cul-de-sac.
So why did he rode his bike to school?
“Well, it has gears, and it’s also really cool,” he says.
To encourage more students to be able to participate, school buses headed for McKinley dropped students at a prearranged site a quarter-mile away where they were escorted to school by Brown and other teachers.
National Bike to School Day is part of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month and United Nations Global Road Safety Week, which work to improve pedestrian safety for young people.