Bike to School Day at John Adams Middle School

Jun 15, 2009 by Lisa Newton

Travelin’ Local’s Monday stories characteristically feature a Metro Monday ride or issue, but today’s topic turns to another transportation alternative, bikes.

More particularly, bicycle riding and school children. On Friday, I was privileged to be invited to the Bike to School Day at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica.

Over the last few weeks, student volunteers, parents, and teachers, have been effectively advocating to anyone and everyone receptive enough to listen, about the myriad benefits and issues with reference to biking to school.

Bike to School Day

Children as Bicycling Advocates

Grass roots movements’ spring from people to solve what typically is not by the powers that be. What’s captivating the movement now, are that children are front and center in the debates raging regarding the environment, all things green, and the complex transportation and energy issues that are and will affect their generation; and how the decisions we make today will affect the qualitative and quantitative way our world will look and function for them.

For today, the rewards besides the obvious ones as I’ve documented, were energy snacks for all, popsicles which wasn’t limited only to the kids who rode their bikes to school; , but also for all others– the walkers, car poolers, skateboarders, and mass transit riders.

The local Parent Teacher Student Association helped make the event a success. They were able to provide the kids’ bike helmets at a substantial savings, sustained an intensive shore up for the volunteers, and without their support, today’s success would have been impossible. Also working with John Adams and the PTSA was the Santa Monica Spoke. It’s a local bike advisory group that I work with that advocates and works with the City of Santa Monica– and its various agencies– to help create a safer and more bike friendly Santa Monica.

A Success

Indeed, a security guards at the school informed me the typical amount of kids who ride to school every day is around 15-20 bikers each day. Another told me that in the 6 years he’s been working at John Adams, this was the largest number of bikes he had seen. Today, over 40 students biked to school; twice the normal daily amount.

Located at the back of the school, this bike cage is where students can safely park their bikes. At the start of Bike to School Day:

At the start of the day

As the minutes progressed

You go girls

By the time the starting bell rang

A full house

A Full House

The main talk of the day was safety.

Many parents are concerned about their children riding the roads in Santa Monica; especially riding along the busy artery and main thoroughfare of Lincoln Blvd. One parent even put her feet where her mouth is by actually riding alongside her daughter to make sure she remained safe. After she shared that with me, I thought to myself that we can make a difference; and what a great example of how parents invested into their children’s future are true role models.

Of course, any event like this is not possible without the help of numerous volunteers:

Great Volunteers

John Adams Middle School’s academic year is almost over, but next year will be here before you know it. With one Bike to School success under their belts, hopefully next year’s Bike to School Day will be an even bigger success, and with the help of parents, students, and the city, more kids will be using a different mode of transportation to attend school, other than Mom or Dad’s car.

Mom, can I bike to school?

Travelin’ Local is invested in our community and our children’s well being—in every single way, no matter where we go, what we do, but in also how we get there and arrive safely.

To your good health!

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11 Responses to “Bike to School Day at John Adams Middle School”

  1. Alison Kendall says:

    Lisa, thanks for a wonderful article and lovely pictures of the JAMS Bike to School Day. Just as notable as the 42 bikers was over 300 students who walked to school that day. Altogether 415 students got to school without using a car–in a school of under 1000 students. Parents, students and community members who want to volunteer to help next year can leave their email on our blog:


    Zoe Reply:

    @Alison Kendall,

    Correction: John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica, CA has over 1000 students.


    Alison Kendall Reply:

    @Zoe, Zoe, do you have the exact number?


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Alison Kendall, Thanks for the updated information. Bike to School Day was even better than I thought. It was a joy to share this event with you and the students. I look forward to even more students participating next year.


  2. Paisley (Paisley Thoughts) says:

    Every kid should have the experience of biking to and from school. I do understand the safety issue – same here – more so. Driving here is crazy and the crime rate very high. Ugh! I hate making those kinds of admissions. Biking is freedom and it looks like the kids had a lot of fun.

    Paisley (Paisley Thoughts)’s last blog post..Brave Iranian Woman


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Paisley (Paisley Thoughts), Biking does mean freedom. When I was a kid, I used to ride my bike all over town. Because both of my parents worked, the only way I was going to get anywhere was to bike. Although, I lived in a small town, so biking felt a little more safe. I totally understand the safety issued faced by parents today.


  3. David says:

    From the story and the comments, it sounds like it was a total success.

    Good work Lisa, and Alison. It may take time, but kids “get it.”

    From reading your story I get the impression that the different public and private components of Santa Monica work well together.

    And I totally agree with Paisley’s sentiments that “Biking is Freedom.” Has a nice ring to it.


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @David, Actually, the kids were the driving force behind the day. They want to ride their bikes, and enjoy the “freedom” Paisley pointed out. Santa Monica is really a small city within a much larger one. They can make their streets much more bike friendly. :)


  4. Alison Kendall says:

    Just want to correct the blog address: Come help us next year with walk and bike to school day at more middle and high schools.


  5. Lisa's Chaos says:

    What a great activity! Looks like they try insure the safety of the bikes too which is important!

    Lisa’s Chaos’s last blog post..North Hero, Vermont


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