NSD clears the way for many elementary students to bike to school

NSF fundraises to install bike racks at elementary schools.

The Northshore School District (NSD) recently finalized a plan to allow many elementary school students to ride their bicycles to school.

“Allowing students to ride their bikes to elementary school actually gives greater transportation flexibility for families,” Canyon Creek assistant principal Alisha Airhart said. “It allows students to exercise independence and responsibility in a safe manner that is also consistent with county and state codes. It also promotes positive physical health.”

Airhart was part of a committee comprised of parents, teachers and administrators. The committee also enlisted the assistance of a city engineer, law enforcement and community members — who studied existing policies and state laws, walkways and specific schools where biking to school would be appropriate.

To determine which schools would be more conducive for biking, the group reviewed existing infrastructure including road speed limits, availability of sidewalks, marked bike lanes, bike trails and the material used on roads — such as asphalt and concrete and crosswalks.

Seventeen of NSD’s elementary schools have been identified by the committee to participate in the bike-to-school initiative. The schools include: Arrowhead, Wellington, Canyon Creek, Cottage Lake, Fernwood, East Ridge, Frank Love, Kokanee, Kenmore, Lockwood, Maywood, Moorlands, Shelton View, Sunrise, Westhill, Woodin and Woodmoor elementaries.

Due to increased risk, the committee recommended students at Hollywood Hill, Crystal Springs and Bear Creek not ride their bikes to school.

More information regarding the committee’s criteria for school recommendations can be found on its advisory committee page.

The Northshore Schools Foundation (NSF) is supporting this bike-to-school initiative by raising funds to purchase bike racks for each of the participating schools.

“We are hoping to involve the community and local businesses in raising funds for this project and to have the bike racks installed by National Ride Your Bikes to School Day on May 9,” NSF executive director Carmin Dalziel said in a release. “This is also a great project to help us test our new crowd sourcing platform — Northshore Gives.”

So far, most of the bike rack fundraisers have zero donations, with the exception of Canyon Creek (at 33 percent funded), Frank Love (at 12 percent funded), Shelton View (at 13 percent funded), Maywood (at 100 percent funded) and Woodmoor (at 68 percent funded).

To learn more about the bike rack fundraising projects, visit NSF’s campaign website at foundationgive.com.

As part of this initiative, the committee said they require students who want to ride to school to complete a bicycle safety course to learn basic road skills. These courses are available at several locations in the area. Students and families would need to fill out an application packet before their children ride to school, keeping in line with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission guidelines. Children younger than the age of 10 are recommended not to take their bikes to school.