One great way to get involved and promote alternative transportation in your own community is to participate in – or organize! – a Bike to School Day event. Schools nationwide, including many in Rochester, have events on the first Wednesday of May each year. To find out if your school has an event already, ask your principal, ask parent groups, or search here. If not, there are lots of great reasons to start, and Reconnect can help. Check out the information below and contact us to learn more.

Why a Bike to School Day event

  • Teach kids safe biking skills that empower them to ride everyday to nearby places, whether that’s school or activities or friends’ houses
  • Make physical activity a routine for kids so they’re more ready to learn
  • Kickstart bike buses for kids who are a bit farther from school
  • Improve schoolyard air quality by reducing the number of buses and cars idling nearby
  • Build community among students, families, and school staff
  • Have fun!

Organizing a Bike to School Day event

  • Start early. Talk to your principal, then parent groups, in January or earlier.
  • Don’t do everything yourself! Involve others to have more fun and build something that will keep going for years to come.
  • Contact your local police department for an escort on the day of the ride.
  • Contact your local municipality for extra bike racks on the day of the ride, if you need them. (Heads up: the City form requires a notary.) 
  • Offer to connect families needing bikes to R Community Bikes.
  • Invite Jesse from Reconnect Rochester to teach his short course about safe cycling at your school.
  • Plan the route carefully! It should be safe, comfortable, and roughly a mile long. Choose a public starting point that lets you avoid busy roads and intersections, even without riding on sidewalks. The best driving route probably isn’t the best biking route; extending a block or two to reach a quieter street is usually worth the effort. 
  • Before finalizing your route, bike it yourself one morning before school. Notice how long the ride takes, how busy the route is, where motorists might drive dangerously fast, which intersections might be awkward for a big group, and where visibility is poor. Revise as necessary.
  • Spread the word. If school administrators allow, send fliers home with kids a few weeks before the ride. Include key information and a map (see our example). State clearly that kids must be accompanied by an adult. Publicize via email, text messages, and social media, too. 
  • Have enough volunteers to keep the ride safe and orderly. Will you need to temporarily block intersection(s) to keep the group together? Minimally you need one volunteer leading the ride and one bringing up the rear. If you don’t have escorts, add extra volunteers.
  • Have other volunteers set up a few tables before the riders arrive. Hand out healthy light snacks and/or other celebratory gifts. Inexpensive bike lights are fun, good for safety, and available for about $1 each. 
  • Have one volunteer take photos to share! But be mindful of privacy rules.
  • Give parents information about starting bike buses, teaching their kids safe biking, and connecting with other riders.