National Bike to School Month promotes healthy habits, clean environment

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Photo by Deven Yacobi

Daria Milovanova staff writer

Students may dust off their bikes and ride to school during May for the National Bike to School Month. Founded by the National Center for Safe Routes to School in coordination with the League of American Bicyclists, this month has encouraged thousands of biking events across the country since May 9, 2012.

National Bike to School Day, which occurred on May 5, 2021, encourages students to opt-in for biking and walking as an alternative way of transportation to school instead of driving. The ultimate message of this event is to encourage students to gain healthy habits, facilitate clean environments and learn safe road skills. 

According to the official Walk and Bike to School website, “Bike to School Day allows participants to celebrate the joy of active commuting while building a sense of community and school spirit. The event also brings attention to the importance of creating safe routes to school. More than 60 percent of past Walk and Bike to School Day organizers said their events led to policy or environmental changes in their communities.”

The Mountain Biking and Cycling Club has been encouraging its members to bike throughout the year. Club president junior Deven Yacobi, who rides his bike three times a week, participated in the National Bike to School Day this year on May 5. As the Walk and Bike to School Day website notes, there are many benefits to biking, including those that are physical, social, and environmental. Yacobi recognizes that with more people biking these improvements would become more apparent and influential.

“[With] a couple of people, it doesn’t make a super huge difference. But if a greater amount of people biked some more, there’d be less emissions since they wouldn’t be going by car…there are also other benefits, like personal health related,” Yacobi said.

Senior Marissa Kaniel has shown dedication in her bike-riding habits. She has been biking to school regularly since freshman year and participated in the National Bike to School Day every year since 2017. Kaniel discovered mental and physical health benefits from biking.

“I chose to ride a bike because my parents would often make me almost late to school by taking forever to leave the house, and I figured it would be a nice way to get around. I also began to use it for exercise and it improved my self esteem and mental health,” Kaniel said.

Kaniel noted that Beverly Hills High School could do better at encouraging its students to use biking as a method of transportation. At the moment, the BHHS website reports that there is only one official bike parking station at our school in front of the Tennis Courts, to the right of the Swim Gym. According to Kaniel, there are a few areas the school could improve to make it more bike-friendly.

“I think our school should add a second place to lock bikes around the science building, and also encourage the city of Beverly Hills to add more of those green bikes near the school. A bike pump in the bike lock area would be nice for students that don’t have one,” Kaniel said.

Biking to school may be a good way to start the day off with a healthy, energetic activity. It is also a way to establish independence from parents for students who do not have their driver’s licence.

“I find it pretty enjoyable in the morning to get some energy out and start the day feeling better. I don’t really need to use the car since it’s not too far,” Yacobi said. “It’s a couple miles and sometimes my parents can take me a little too late, so I want to get there early.”

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