News Release for For More Information:
Dan Stewart, MaineDOT Bike and Pedestrian Program Manager - 624-3252
Sarah Cushman, Southern Maine Safe Routes to School Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org - 841-7186
Darcy Whittemore, Central maine Safe Routes to School Coordinator, email@example.com - 623-4511
Editor’s Note: Three schools, noted at end of the release, are conducting large group events for the morning commute to school. Please scroll down for more.
AUGUSTA, Maine -- On Wednesday, October 7, schoolchildren across Maine will participate in International Walk & Bike to School Day. Many schools have organized group events where students will walk and/or bicycle under adult supervision and other schools will also have events throughout October and the school year.
“This National and State Program is an important component of a well-balanced transportation system. This program is designed to improve safety and enable more kids to walk and bike to school,” said MaineDOT Commissioner David Cole.
Maine’s Safe Routes to School program, administered by MaineDOT in conjunction with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, coordinates walking and biking activities and encourages more schools to participate. Since the program’s inception in 2001, more than 150 schools from York County to Aroostook County have become involved. The program has provided funding to more than 30 communities for infrastructure improvements to make walking and biking safer.
For International Walk and Bike to School Day, schools in Portland, Ellsworth, Biddeford, Brunswick, Falmouth, North Berwick, Pittsfield, South Portland, and Woodstock have already started planning Walk and Bike to School Day activities.
Funded by the federal government and administered by MaineDOT, the Safe Routes to School program helps to address Maine’s high childhood obesity rate by encouraging healthier lifestyles. Walk and Bike to School programs ease traffic congestion, improve safety, boost academic performances, improve classroom behavior, improve children’s health, and saves money on fuel cost.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine partners with MaineDOT to manage the Safe Routes to School program. There are two regional coordinators: Sarah Cushman in southern Maine and Darcy Whittemore in the central part of the state. For more information, please e-mail (saferoutes@BikeMaine.org) or call 207-623-4511.
The following three schools will be holding Walk and Bike to School Events on Wednesday, October 7:
- Hall Elementary School, 23 Orono Rd, Portland: Parents and other adult volunteers will meet students at six corners and escort them to the school. Portland Superintendent James Morse, Hall School teachers and other visitors will join the children.
- Ellsworth: Students from Ellsworth High School, Ellsworth Middle School and Knowlton School will meet at the two drop-off points between 7:20 and 7:45 a.m. and walk in groups to the various schools.
- Biddeford Elementary and Middle Schools: Bike trains (group rides of students bicycling to school under adult supervision) will take place on October 7 and every Wednesday through the fall and again next spring. The Community Bicycle Center in Biddeford organizes the bike trains.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has been working since 1992 to make Maine a better place to bicycle. The coalition advocates for Maine cyclists at the Legislature and in Washington, D.C., teaches bicycle safety to thousands of Maine schoolchildren each year, partners with state agencies on a Share the Road media campaign and serves as a resource on local bicycling issues.
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