LEWISTON — Wednesday is national Bike to School Day, and a group from Geiger Elementary School is participating.

“We did it last year. We’re able to get volunteers, teachers, students and parents to ride,” organizer and Geiger parent Bruce Hall said.

At school on Wednesday, students will receive bicycle safety education stickers and materials to take home, and bicycle safety will be the topic in physical education, Hall said.

Before school at 8 a.m., cyclists will gather at the former Pettingill Elementary School to ride together to Geiger. Their 15-minute ride will be on Central Avenue. Lewiston police officer Joe Philippon will join the group riding a bicycle.

“It’s vastly safer, especially for first-time riding,” Hall said. Route selection is critical for safe bicycle riding, Hall said. College Street has a bike lane, but that street has more vehicle traffic plus a lot of hills. Central Avenue has wide shoulders and less traffic.

With a need to combat obesity and get more youngsters active, Philippon called said Bike to School Day is a “phenomenal” idea. He liked the idea of students learning about bicycle safety at school.

The national campaign promotes the benefits of riding a bicycle to instead of sitting in a vehicle that uses gasoline.

Commuting by bicycle is possible especially if the distance is less than five miles each way, Hall said.

On its webpage, The National Center for Safe Routes to School of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, said the first Walk to School Day was held in 1997, the first Bike to School day in 2012. Participation grows every year, with 40 countries participating, and more than 4,281 events held at schools in the United States in 2012.

Often, communities that held walk or bike to school events saw a call for additional crossing guards, additional sidewalks, signage and crosswalks to support safer walking and biking, according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

Closer to home, Hall hopes to increase the number of adults and students who commute by bike. For more information about Wednesday’s event, call Hall at 795-6134.

For more information about the day, go to www.walkbiketoschool.org/ready/about-the-events/bike-to-school-day.

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