RICHMOND, Va. — The fifth annual National Bike to School Day is Wednesday, May 4. In Virginia, more than 145 schools have registered on the official website, www.walkbiketoschool.org to host their own events.
The number of participating schools is expected to rise in the days leading up to Bike to School Day and throughout the month.
The event is held annually as part of National Bike Month.
Locally, RVA Bike Month will feature more than 60 events, including food-themed rides, youth rides, bike commuting seminars, amateur bike racing, and bike-themed films. Activities will also include group bike commutes and bigger festivals like Dominion Riverrock, which takes place Friday, May 20 – Sunday, May 22.
Last year marked the greatest participation in Virginia since Back to School Day began in 2012, with 172 schools taking part, according to a press release.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the agency that administers the Federal Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) in Virginia, expects even more participants this year.
“Back to School Day is a way to encourage students to make biking or walking their first choice for getting to school and beyond,” said Rob Williams, VDOT’s Safe Routes to School coordinator. “Our hope is that this one-day event helps to develop a lifelong habit of choosing active transportation.”
To find a participating school near you or for more information see the following websites:
- VDOT Safe Routes to School Program
- Walk to School Day in the USA
- National Center for Safe Routes to School
National Bike Month isn’t just for students, either.
“There are numerous biking opportunities across the state for people of all ages and skill levels,” said John Bolecek, VDOT’s statewide bicycle and pedestrian planner.
Virginia boasts 838 miles of U.S. Bike Routes 1 and 76, as well as many locations for off-road mountain biking.
The Virginia Capital Trail, a fifty-plus mile multiuse trail connecting Williamsburg to Richmond, was completed in September 2015 and has recorded more than 173,000 counts from bicyclists and pedestrians.
Are you unsure about how traffic laws apply to bicyclists? Bicyclists and motorists basically have the same rights and duties, and the laws governing traffic regulation apply equally to both. Information on laws and safety tips is available at http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/bk-laws.asp and http://sharevaroads.org/.
If you’re looking for areas to bike in Virginia, VDOT’s bike map offers routes and information of most interest to cyclists. Maps can be ordered or viewed at http://www.virginiadot.org/bikemap/default.asp.