Santa Monica’s Bike It! Day grows, inspires

Localizing the Walk to School Day efforts in Southern California

Photo Credit: Gary Kavanagh, of Gary Rides Bikes on Flickr

Bike It Day 2010: Additional bike parking provided by the City and LACBC, and a temporary bike lane was created with cones leading to campus Samohi's East entrance.

Just four short years ago, an effort to reduce Santa Monica High School’s carbon footprint, the Samohi Solar Alliance (SSA) started Bike It! Day. On Bike It! Day, which falls on Wednesday, October 5th this year, SSA challenges the students of the Santa Monica School District to “leave the car at home” and seek other methods of transportation to and from school. Biking, walking, skateboarding, and using public transit are all encouraged. The most recent Bike It! Days produced tremendous results. What began with less than 100 participants at the high school in 2007, turned into 3,300 participants across the district, which was more than 30 percent of the total enrollment. Of that number, 700 students biked to school.

Since Bike It! Day’s inception, the number of people who bike to school every day has increased to the point where more bike racks were needed to accommodate the increase. Upwards of 120 students bike to school each day in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SM-MUSD) — but just a few years ago the racks were sparsely filled with around twenty bikes on a good day. Now, Bike It!/Walk It! Day has proved to be extremely beneficial to the SM-MUSD community, not only bringing together schools, parents, students, administration, and local businesses, but also as an effort in combating global warming, one bike at a time.

Students Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

Bike It!/Walk It! Day makes a comeback in less than to weeks, are you ready? This event will not only be at Samohi; efforts have recently expanded involving numerous schools within the district. With much support from various active PTA members and faculty, Bike It!/Walk It! has spread to the middle school and elementary school level. SSA has worked closely with the SMASH
Bike Club to help with community publicity and awareness. As for students who cannot ride a bike, alternative forms such as walking and riding the bus to school are promoted. In a time where there is much construction happening throughout the SMMUSD, students, parents, teachers, and faculty members are watching parking quickly become an imminent issue. Another reason to ditch the car and seek alternative options to help out oneself and the school.

“I became a member of SSA in my freshman year, lured in by the plethora of signs around campus that read: Kiss my SSA. Since then, I have been an active participant in the club, assisting with all Bike It! Days, the most recent Club Day, and publicizing events. Bike It Day is a very special celebration because it is one of the few environmental events at Samohi where everyone comes together for a common cause. Even school administrators participate, ditching their formal uniforms for a day to don bike shorts. Bike It! Day is inspiring– it reminds us not to take Mother Earth for granted.”  – Samohi junior Chelsea Brandwein, an active member of SSA

In June, students from SSA were called to the District Board of Education to receive not only district recognition, but also recognition from the national level with the Presidential Commendation award for the successful expansion of a district-wide Bike It!/Walk It! Day. Co-Presidents, Charlotte Biren and Jenna Perelman accepted the Presidential Environmental Youth Award, signed by President Obama and recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency, on behalf of the entire student-operated club. After being awarded such an honor, SSA hopes to spread the importance of inspiring environmental stewardship to other schools and students through activities such as Bike It!/Walk It! Day.

SSA Makes the News

Southern California Public Radio – Santa Monica students to ditch cars for Bike it! Walk it! Day tomorrow
LA.streetsblog.org – Best Practices: Bike It! Day in Santa Monica
Safe Routes to School California Blog – Santa Monica Bike It! Day Hits the Streets on June 1st
Santa Monica Daily PressSolar Alliance students earn national recognition
Writer’s Blog, Santa Monica MirrorHometown Heroes: Charlotte Biren and Jenna Perelman

A Note to Parents, Press and Participants

Please join SSA and the rest of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District to celebrate the reduction of carbon footprints as students bike, bus, scooter, skateboard, and walk to school. Photo opportunities will be available as students arrive to school (beginning at 8:30 a.m.) and during their lunch (beginning at 12:05 p.m.), as well as throughout the celebration in the Samohi Science Quad. Remember, before the day of the event, members of the community who are not affiliated with the school must contact Santa Monica High School Administration to obtain permission to come onto campus and document the event. Please contact Ms. Catherine Baxter, Dean of Students (310-395-3204 x71513).

To obtain information about specific campus events or obtaining permission to visit campus, contact the following representatives:

Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH)

Lincoln Middle School (LMS)

John Adams Middle School (JAMS)

  • Science Teacher, Dan Brown
    Phone: 310-452-2326 Ext. 72171, Email: dbrown@smmusd.org
  • Assistant Principal, Chris Regan
    Phone: 310-452-2326 Ext. 72217, Email: cregan@smmusd.org

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One Response to Santa Monica’s Bike It! Day grows, inspires

  1. Pingback: Successful ThinkBike with the Dutch, a touch of racing news and lots of links to start your week « BikingInLA

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