[Ed. Note: This blog post was written by Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s Safe Routes Philly Coordinator Waffiyyah Murray, who recently helped put together Bike To School Day programs at nine Philadelphia schools.]
There’s no other way to say it: This year’s Bike to School Day was our most successful ever. Nine schools registered for the May 6 Bike to School Day (the most ever for Philadelphia) and over 500 students came out to bike, walk, and ride their scooters.
Safe Routes Philly has been working very closely with schools this year on Bike to School Day planning, promotion, routes selection as well as bike and walking safety info a equipment to help keep students and staff safe while on the ride.
We were happy to partner this year with KIND who provided snake bars for Bike to School Day participants and even joined in some of the rides.
I could only be at one spot. So I attended Bike to School Day at Lea Elementary School in West Philadelphia, a school I’ve been working closely with over several months.
This was Lea’s 3rd annual Bike or Walk to School Day event was it’s most attended, ever. Principal Jennifer Duffy, along with several other Lea elementary staff members, joined students, a representative from Neighborhood Bike Works, and UCD Bike Ambassador on the ride.
After the ride, students were provided a nutritious breakfast snack from Urban Nutrition Initiative and KIND representatives.
“We could not have been as successful without our partners and especially Waffiyyah Murray from Bicycle Coalition who has been working with us all year on cycling initiatives,” said Maurice Jones, president of the Lea Home and School Association, in an email after the event.
Over in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city, Richard Wright’s first Walk/Bike to School Day was a tremendous success. “So many students rode their bikes to school today that we filled up the gym storage room and had to lock the overflow up in the boys’ locker room!” said Jeb Corner, Service Site Coordinator at Communities In Schools, after the morning event ended.
Mariana Bracetti Academy held rides both to and from school for Bike to School Day. “Students are already excited about participating in the next Bike to School Day,” said Tricia Brophy, a teacher at Marianna Bracetti Academy Charter School.
Meredith School in Queen Village, which does weekly Bike to School Days, decided to meet up near a recently installed Indego bikehare station so participants could use bikeshare as a riding option.
While on their Walk and Bike to School Day route, students at Roberto Clemente stopped at certain points to complete a safety checklist noting safety concerns students may encounter on their way to school such as upkeep road/sidewalk conditions and driver behaviors. They are now working on ways to improve some of the issues they found.
“Afterwards the students expressed a strong desire to do more biking activities and would like to see a bike club started!” said teacher Katherine Gerhis.