Bike to School
Biking is a fun and healthy way for students to get to school. Every spring since 2012, thanks to support from Arlington County Public Schools, National Bike to School Day in Arlington County has gotten bigger and bigger. We think everyday should be "Bike to School Day" so we've put together a list of resources that can help you plan and prepare for your child to bike to school! Even more helpful information on biking to school can be found on the National Walk/Bike to School website. For tips on walking to school, visit our partners at WalkArlington!
Active transportation, like biking and walking to school, has been shown to improve academic performance, reduce stress and even relieve ADHD symptoms. Reducing vehicle traffic can also improve air quality around schools and gets children into the habit of making a lifetime of healthy transportation choices.
The Link Between Kids Who Walk or Bike to School and Concentration - The Atlantic Cities
It's All in Your Head - Healthy Benefits of Walking and Biking to School - Bicycling Magazine
Biking to School Leads to Better Health and Better Grades - BusinessWire
Why Bicycling Is Good For Kids Stats and Resources - BikesBelong
Planning a Route
Did you know that Arlington has 50 miles of shared-use off-street trails, 31 miles of bike lanes and sharrows, and 78 miles of recommended on-street bicycle routes? That means where ever you are in the County, chances are you live close to the extensive network of bicycle infrastructure that can get you and your child around safely by bicycle.
We realize planning a route to school is very important, which is why we offer the Arlington County Bike Map for free! There are also online tools that can help you route your child's trip to school by bicycle. To order bike maps and for more information on routing, see our Maps & Rides page.
Bike trains are a take on walking schools buses and offer a fun and safe way for children to bike to school in a group with adult supervision. They include a pre-planned route, adult chaperones, and often sign-in sheets with waiver forms. Bike trains require some planning and organization but can be a rewarding experience for all involved and they help promote a healthy lifestyle. Here are some helpful tips and guidelines to get you started from other areas in the US:
- Maine Safe Routes to School Program’s Bike Train Guide
- Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s Guidelines for Bike Train “Engineers” and “Cabooses”
Check out this video and see how much kids love bike trains!
No matter how you're getting around, being a PAL is even more important in a school zone. Being a PAL means being Predictable, Alert, and Lawful. In a school zone, you should expect to see kids walking and biking to school, which requires extra attention from you! Find out more on our PAL page.
Helmets are required equipment for all bicyclists age 14 and under in Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County. Helmets will not prevent accidents; however, they are valuable protective devices proven to be effective in reducing serious head injuries and fatalities during crashes and spills. Parents can set a good example for kids by wearing a helmet whenever they ride a bike.
If you're not convinced, then you should check out this great video of a family in DC who take their kids to school by bike!