April 3, 2012 1 Comment
Eckstein Bikes! formed earlier this school year to encourage and support Eckstein students to bike to school. Several parents began by “randomly” showing up at school with treats to reward bikers on the occasional Friday. This created a little word of mouth that good things happen to those who bike.
We also successfully applied for a Safe Routes to School grant, with some support from within the school from a fantastic science teacher who had run a Safe Routes grant a couple of years ago. Eckstein Bikes! met with the school administration and PTSA early on, and found them supportive as well.
With some energy and enthusiasm as well as experience from our efforts at other schools, we were up and running in very little time!
An early focus of the program has included several “Biker Donut Days” — morning meet-ups at the Eckstein bike cage parking area to reward kids who biked to school that day. Despite being held throughout the late fall and winter, each donut day has seen more kids on bikes as word has gotten around and we have increased our advertising to the school community. Last Donut Day we had 28 kids on bikes — a new record. Given the size of Eckstein though, there is plenty of room to grow.
Early efforts have also included:
- Planning for renovations to the bike cage to improve its security and make it a more welcoming space for prospective and current bike commuters.
- Coordination with the school and with SDOT on safety improvements around the school for our kid bikers as well as Eckstein’s kids who walk to school.
- Getting the word out via Facebook, Twitter, and good old-fashioned signs and school notices.
The Donut Days have also provided a great opportunity to dole out some bike advice and some needed gear to the kid commuters. So far we’ve handed out over a dozen blinkie lights — front and rear — as well as one helmet. The Bike Wizard has also swung by a couple of times and delivered seat bags to kids that needed them.
Bike to School Month this May will be our next big push, but over the coming year, we also hope to focus on more incentives, safety and bike repair education for our bike commuters, possible group rides, and some other ideas as well. We also would love to recruit some parents to run a parallel walk to school program.
The Eckstein Bikes! team looks forward to continuing to grow safe and sustainable kid commuting at Eckstein.