Maryland Safe Routes to School Program Recognizes Bike to School Day Participants

May 5, 2015

Hundreds of Maryland Students Participating in National Bike to School Day, Wednesday, May 6; Drivers Urged to Be Aware of Increased Bicycling Activity around Schools

SHABike to School Day events on Wednesday, May 6 raise awareness for the need to create safer routes for bicycling and walking, as well as the health and environmental benefits of biking. The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) praises schools who will participate in National Bike to School Day and urges drivers to be alert for bicyclists around schools during arrival and dismissal times. Several Maryland schools will host events, supported by Maryland’s Safe Routes to School program, which provides funding to support walking, and bicycling to and from elementary and middle schools.

“Bike to School Day provides the perfect opportunity to explore an alternate form of travel that has both environmental and health benefits,” said SHA Deputy Administrator Douglas Simmons. “The Safe Routes to School program and Bike to School Day events bring together parents, school administrators and teachers, along with other community groups and agencies to improve the safety of children who walk or bicycle to school.”

SHA manages the Maryland Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, using federal funding through the Transportation Alternatives Program. The grants are awarded annually to local government and non-profit organizations on a competitive basis, with consideration based on need and problem identification. TAP guidelines and applications and SRTS guidelines can be found on SHA’s website. Applications can be submitted to SHA between April 15 and May 15. Direct questions concerning project eligibility or program requirements to Ms. Jessica Shearer, SHA’s TAP Manager. She may be reached at 410-545-5675, or toll-free at 1-888-204-4828. Applicants may also e-mail jshearer@sha.state.md.us.

Tips for drivers and pedestrians:

For drivers:

• Expect bicyclists on the road and share the road.
• Stay vigilant at all times, especially when pulling out of driveways or side streets.
• Always follow the speed limit, which may be lowered in designated school zones.
• Pass bicyclists with at least three feet of space – it’s the law.
• Leave plenty of space between you and the bicyclist in front of you.
• Before turning, make sure the path is clear of bicyclists.

For children walking and biking to school:

• Obey the rules of the road, including traffic signals and stop signs.
• On a bike, ride with traffic but walk on the sidewalk facing ongoing traffic.
• Wear a helmet – it’s the law for anyone under age 16, but everyone should to prevent head injury.
• Wear reflective material…it makes you more visible to drivers.
• Walk your bike across intersections.
• Use hand signals.
• When walking, use crosswalks and follow pedestrian signal indicators.