In southern New Jersey, the 2012-2013 school year was capped off with an array of events that encouraged and educated students to walk and bicycle to and from school safely. From bike rodeos to poster contests to walk to school days, the seven southern counties were blanketed with Safe Routes to School activities.
Throughout the month of May, bicycle rodeos were held in Camden City and National Park, while Egg Harbor City School District and Tatem Elementary in Haddonfield hosted Bike to School Day festivities complete with helmet fitting seminars. Bicycle education assistance has quickly become a popular service offered by Safe Routes to School Coordinators across the state. Students are taught Drivers Ed. in high school, so it makes perfect sense that bicycle education should be taught at elementary schools once bicycling to school is allowed.
Walk to School events were also popular in the month of May with schools in Absecon, Somers Point, Pleasantville, Mt. Holly, Southampton, Pemberton, and Woodbine. These events were coordinated in an effort to keep Safe Routes to School momentum going through the summer months. Each was tailored specifically to the needs and environment of the communities that each school serves. In Absecon, Mt. Holly and Southampton, satellite drop off locations were identified and school administrators and faculty walked with participating students. In Woodbine, their long running Walking School Bus Program rocked n’ rolled into June, while South Main Street School in Pleasantville held a Walk-a-Thon to raise pedestrian awareness.
There is truly no uniform directive that your school or municipality must follow when coordinating Safe Routes to School activities that encourage healthy and active lifestyles. As you can see, there are various ways to participate. For more information on Safe Routes to School programs in southern New Jersey, contact David Calderetti of Cross County Connection, at Calderetti@driveless.com.
To locate the Safe Routes to School Regional Coordinator in your area, see: http://www.saferoutesnj.org/about/regional-coordinator-tmas/
Picture1: SRTS Coordinator David Calderetti waits for students to arrive at Tatem Elementary
Picture 2: Students in National Park wait to have their bikes tuned up prior to participating in a bicycle rodeo
Picture 3: Students from Egg Harbor City School District roll to school
Special thanks to David Calderetti from Cross County Connection TMA for writing this article. Great work David!