May 6, 2019 (PORTLAND, Maine) – Students from Fort Kent to York, and Norway to Camden, have announced plans to commute on foot or by bicycle to celebrate Maine’s Bike and Walk to School Month throughout May.
Parents, teachers, students, and volunteers at each school have organized fun and engaging activities that include “walking school buses” (children walking with adult supervision), “Walking Wednesdays,” and “bike trains” (groups bicycling with adult supervision), as well as bike safety rodeos and afterschool bike clubs. Some schools hold one-day celebrations, while others plan walk-and-bike-to-school events lasting the entire month, or, in some cases, the entire spring.
A number of schools have also planned bike-to-school events to celebrate the 7th Annual National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 8.
At the Geiger School in Lewiston, a Bike to School Day ride is planned for that day.
“We’re expecting students, parents, community members, and even the local law enforcement officer to join in the bike ride to school,” said parent and ride organizer Dominic Giampaolo. A celebration at Geiger School will include snacks donated by a local bike shop, as well as stickers and bike safety handouts provided by the Maine Safe Routes to School Program.
Throughout the year, Maine’s Safe Routes to School Program—a collaboration of the Maine Department of Transportation program, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, and communities throughout the state—supports local efforts to improve safety, build lifelong bicycle and pedestrian safety skills, and encourage physical activity to fight childhood obesity.
A number of studies demonstrate that physical activity, like walking or biking, also benefits children’s academic performance.
“Students arrive at school alert and ready to learn,” said Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director John Williams. “So this program is very much a win-win for students, families, and school staff.”
Communities already registered to participate in walk and bike activities this spring include Baileyville, Bangor, Brunswick, Camden, Cape Elizabeth, Eliot, Fort Kent, Gray, Lewiston, North Anson, Norway, Portland, Rangeley, Scarborough, South Portland, Waterville, Yarmouth, and York. Additional schools are also expected to will participate, the Coalition reports.