Harvest Century September 22nd

Kids catch the spirit of Walk and Bike to School Day

Posted by on October 5th, 2006 at 9:31 am

Walk and Bike to School Day

Yesterday was International Walk and Bike to School Day and 25 schools from all over Portland took part in the event. I caught up with some of the action at Sunnyside School in southeast Portland and just like last year I was thrilled and inspired to see so many kids walking and biking to school.

Sunnyside was chosen as this year’s media school so the event was made more exciting by the presence of dignitaries like Mayor Potter, Commissioner Adams, TV cameras, and free goodies for the kids.

I joined a “bike school bus” at Buckman Elementary (which included one roller-blader and two kids on an Xtracycle) and we rode together to Sunnyside.

Walk and Bike to School Day

[Mayor Potter passed out
I Share the Road stickers.]

Also on the biking school bus was Sacha White (Vanilla Bicycles) and his family and Oregon State Epidemiologist Mel Cohn.

At the school, the kids and parents were treated to encouraging words from Mayor Tom Potter, Commissioner Sam Adams (who stopped to talk business with Sacha White), Dr. Mel Cohn and Robert Ping from the BTA.

One of the highlights of the morning was seeing these young kids holding PDOT’s new Share the Road signs. And there’s just something about overflowing bike racks at schools that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

[Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams and bike builder wunderkind Sacha White]

Towards the end of the event, I bumped into Jay Shuster and his kids Ezra and Amelia. Jay and family commute from northeast Portland. He calls his tag-long bike and trailer set-up “the train” and said he tries to ride the kids to school about 50% of the time. I asked about how safe he feels on his route and he said he seeks out low traffic streets and hopes Portland gets more separated bike paths and bike boulevard streets like his former hometown of Eugene.

[Bike racks at Sunnyside Elementary School]

Luckily for Jay his kids go to one of the most bike-friendly schools in the area. For more on Sunnyside’s bikey-ness, check out this new video by Clarence Eckerson of BikeTV. He interviews parents, school staff, and even the school’s bike safety class instructor (yes they have one of those).

Walk and Bike to School Day

[Robert Ping (BTA) and
Congressman Earl Blumenauer
staffer Meeky Blizzard.]

I also noticed our old friend Officer Pickett from the SE Precinct Bike Patrol. He was hanging out with the kids and talking with the BTA’s Safe Routes guy Robert Ping.

But southeast Portland wasn’t the only place in the Walk and Bike spirit. PDOT employee Timo Forsberg relayed that he was out at Parkrose Sacramento Elementary in outer southeast Portland (114th Street) and they had 300 out of 400 kids walk and bike to school! Way to go Sacto!

Don’t miss the rest of my photos in the Walk and Bike to School Day gallery.

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3 Comments
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    Pete Jacobsen October 7, 2006 at 7:34 am

    I watched the kids come by my garage on the way home from school wednesday here in SE Portland. Many of them wave or say hi, since I fix their bikes for free on Saturdays.

    What bothers me is that I counted 19 bikes and only two helmets! On top of that, there were two bikes with an extra rider on the handlebars, and one with a rider on rear pegs.

    We’re not doing a great job of teaching them bike safety!

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  • […] By way of Clarence Eckerson, who is always keeping an eye on Portland, BikePortland has coverage of International Walk and Bike to School Day. […]

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  • […] I wanted to gain a perspective on the streets from a bike cop’s point-of-view, learn more about the bike patrol, get to know the officers a little better, and compare this experience to my previous ride-along in a patrol car back in August. I first met Officer Pickett through his posts in the Portland Bike Forums during the “Creep named James” saga. He then showed up to the donut-eating contest at Carfree Day and most recently he was at Sunnyside School for Walk and Bike to School Day. […]

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