All Aboard the Bike Train
Do you remember going on field trips for school when you were a kid? And did your teachers instruct you to use the "buddy system"? As a kid the buddy system ensured that everyone was accounted for (does everyone have their buddy?) so no one would be left behind, but also to ensure safety since people tend to be safer from harm or accidents if they’re with another person (so in the case of field trips, no kids would get abducted because they were never left alone). In the bicycling world the buddy system applies to safety, and it’s actually commonly referred to as "safety in numbers". When you combine children with biking, it becomes more apparent why this system is so important, and with Walk and Bike to School Day 2013 quickly approaching we can offer up some tips for you to feel comfortable about letting your child walk or bike to school this year!
So let’s talk about Walk and Bike to School Day for a quick moment. What is it and why should my kid participate? It is a national movement that not only aims at getting more kids active by walking or biking to school, but it also aims at improving safety conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists across the country. There are plenty of reasons why your child should participate, a few of them being kids who bike or walk to school perform better academically, experience improved mental health, and maintain a healthier weight. Not to mention the decreased congestion helps improve the air quality which is super important to everyone (obviously).
"Ok, you got me, but I don’t feel comfortable letting my child walk or bike on their own. What are my options?" Great question, parent reading this blog post. We have just the thing for you…Bike Trains!! What’s a bike train, you ask? As David Howard with Bicycling magazine puts it, "a bike train is an organized group made up of children and adults who ride their bikes to and from school along an established route." David actually wrote up an excellent article titled "All Aboard" that explains how to start a bike train. It’s as easy as getting a group of friends and neighbors together and riding to school in a group, so if you’re interested, please read his short but concise article about bike trains!
We also have a whole page dedicated to Biking to School if you’re still hungry for more. But the bottom line is, bike trains are an easy and safe way to get your kids exciting about biking to school AND to feel good about them doing it. It’s fun and social for the kids, so you know they’ll enjoy it. Proof below:
Zanna is the Events & Outreach Coordinator for BikeArlington. She helped organize and lead the bike train for Walk and Bike to School Day last year at Oakridge Elementary School and had a blast. The kids had fun too!