By Lookout Staff
October 4, 2013 -- Middle School students in Santa Monica’s public schools are getting their bikes – and scooters, skateboards and waking shoes – ready for Bike It! Walk It! Week, which kicks off on Monday.
Elementary school students will celebrate Bike It Walk It Day next Friday, while Santa Monica High School students ditched their cars this Wednesday.
“Bike It! Walk it! encourages students, parents and staff to try active transportation, including carpooling and riding the bus, to get to and from school,” said Peter Dzewaltowski, the City’s Transportation Planner.
On Friday, October 11, students from John Adams Middle School and Will Rogers Learning Community will highlight the week of walking and biking to school with an active living celebration
along 16th Street from 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
“Walkers and rollers will be turning up the music and participating in a number of activities,” organizers said.
The activities include demonstrations by the Cove Skateboard Team, Zumba instruction from the YWCA, half-court soccer with AYSO coaches, giant Tic Tac Toe and Turtle Bike Races. Participating students will be eligible to receive custom sunglasses, snacks, bike bells, LED spoke lights and other gifts.
"Bike It Walk It shows Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council's commitment to improving our children's mental and physical well-being,” said Grace Phillips, a member of the Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council.
“Studies show that students who get to school under their own power are more ready to learn and are better prepared for mental challenges,” said Phillips, a landscape designer and urban planner who started Santa Monica Walks! “The PTA Council wants our kids to be able to take advantage of their education and do so in their best health."
“Bike It! Day” has its roots in a bike to school day organized by Solar Alliance for Samohi students in 2009. The following year, the group launched the first district-wide Bike It! Day.
Designated Bike It! Walk It! days, which are set aside to encourage children to find safe, alternative ways of getting to school without a car, are only part of the tools Bike It! Walk It! uses to get kids out of cars.
Last fall, “approximately 30 percent of District students at 14 different schools participated, “saving approximately 12,000 car trips,” organizers said. The last Bike It! Walk It week was held in May.