30,000 K-8 students now walking or biking to school in Long Beach
Over the past three years Long Beach’s community and school based bicycle and walking safety program has resulted in an increase of over 2500 students walking or biking to our elementary and middle schools on a regular basis. More than 30,000 students, nearly 60% of the elementary and middle school population now walk or bike to school on a regular basis in Long Beach.
The Long Beach Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, funded by a METRO through a federal safety grant; and run by the nonprofit Safe Moves, consists of three parts:
1. A public outreach program with bike rodeos offered at community events around the city.
2. An engaging “assembly” held in school auditoriums where the instructor interacts with students to teach and reinforce messages about walking and biking; and
3. A “bike rodeo” where all of the students have the opportunity to practice the safe maneuvers on an obstacle course designed for kids. Over the past three years, the program has served more than 100,000 participants at more than 100 community events and on over 60 elementary and middle school campuses.
The results have been dramatic: we have witnessed a significant increase in the number of students walking and biking to schools and in their neighborhoods.
On average our schools have nearly 60% of children who walk or bike to school. This is a 6% increase since the beginning of the program. And some of our schools, such as the New City Charter School in Central Long Beach, now have almost 90% of students who either walk or bike to school.
System-wide this means that we have an additional 2600 students and a total of nearly 30,000 elementary and middle school students walking and or bicycling to school on a regular basis.
When compared to nationwide averages…the Long Beach numbers are remarkable.
Nationally the percentage of elementary and middle school students walking and biking to school is not only dramatically lower than the Long Beach numbers; the numbers are also dropping, not increasing. According to SRTS statistics only 35% of K-8 students walk or bike to school, and this is down from nearly 50% in 1969.
Working with The Long Beach Health Department, Long Beach Parks and Recreation, Miller Children’s Hospital, Kohl’s Cares, BIKEable Communities, our local YMCA’s, our business districts and numerous other non profits we have also provided helmets to kids and sponsored local bike rides such as the monthly Kidical Mass event in Bixby Knolls.
For more information on scheduling a community bike rodeo go to contact us at www.bikelongbeach.org