Students participate in inaugural National Bike to School Day

FAIRBANKS, Ak - May is National Bike Month, and communities across the country today joined together to celebrate the first ever National Bike to School Day.

Schools, cities, bicycle groups, public health and parents nationwide organized Bike Rides to School to highlight the benefits of choosing student–powered transportation.

Students and staff from the Fairbanks Watershed Charter School met at Pike's Landing this morning for the ride.

"It's all the increased awareness.  You need to be safe there out on the roads, watch for bikes, and get kids outside, get them active and have fun," said Jimmy Fox, of Watershed School P.T.A.

Some feel it's a way to deal with a major health issue affecting a large number of youngsters.

"There's an obesity epidemic and we really need to get the kids out and riding their bikes to school or walking to school and it is also better for air quality and just quality of life," said participant Donna Gardino

The Alaska State Department of Transportation sponsors a program called Safe Routes to School, which encourages bike riding.

Public Information Officer for AK DOT, Meadow Bailey said, "That (program) looks at the infrastructure around the school and ways to encourage kids and parents to bike and walk to school, recognizing that there is a great health benefit to biking and with the obesity rates and the health of our nation right now, one of the ways we can combat that is by getting people outside."

The National Center for Safe Routes to School said over 700 similar events were held today nationwide.