It’s Bike to School Week. That’s right — the burgeoning event is no longer confined to a single day.
Over 2,500 kids and adults at 52 schools are expected to participate, up from 40 schools last year, according to the SF Bicycle Coalition, which coordinates the event. SFBC Communications Director Kristin Smith said organizers expanded the event to a full week to “make it easier for more schools to participate.”
“With standardized testing and other school activities, some schools were not able to participate on the single day, so transforming Bike to School Day into Bike to School Week ensured we could get more kids, parents and teachers on bikes,” she said.
An SFBC news release [PDF] highlighted the recent successes at Grattan Elementary in Cole Valley, which has seen major increases in biking and walking, coupled with a reduction in driving, since the Safe Routes to School program began holding regular events like “Carbon Free Fridays” to encourage students and parents to change their transport habits:
Since 2010, when Grattan Elementary school started working with Safe Routes to School, the elementary school has decreased the number of single vehicles dropping off kids from 60% to 47% of all morning and afternoon trips. In just last year, they reduced the car trips by 8.5%. In the last year, Grattan has also seen a 4.5% increase in the number of students walking and biking to school, and 34% of their students participated in Bike to School Day. This decrease in car trips and increase in biking is helping San Francisco meet its official goal of 20% of trips by bike by 2020.
Last year’s Bike to School Day saw an estimated 2,000 participants, and that was on a rainy day, so the jump in kids cycling this year could be huge. Can we get a bike counter at every school to get an accurate measurement?