Students Take the Lane

How Lincoln Middle School gets 500 students riding on Bike to School Day

Students in Lincoln Middle’s leadership class count bikes on Bike to School Day.

We were stunned to learn that over 55% of Alameda’s Lincoln Middle School students rode on Bike to School Day last year. Their key to success was some good old fashioned community organizing by student leaders in each classroom.

Last year, teacher Joslyn Olsen’s leadership class of 28 seventh- and eighth-grade students got serious about Bike to School Day. Each student in leadership is responsible for sharing news and announcements with the homeroom they represent, so they used this platform to motivate their classmates for Bike to School Day. Leadership students distributed posters, explained reasons to bike, and got their peers pumped to bike to school.

Strategies for Success

Part of the huge success of Bike to School Day at Lincoln is the leadership class’s smart partnerships with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and Safe Routes to Schools. By asking for help with funding and programming, the class was able to put together a big celebration before the school day.

Just like everyone else on Bike to Work Day, the students love getting free stuff.

“We buy lots of food,” said eighth grader Skye Krainer. “Last year we had smoothies, cheese sticks, bagels, granola bars and fresh fruit for kids, plus the PTA plays music and has a group game and activity session on the blacktop. About two thirds of the school comes and participates in some way, whether it is eating the food, filling in the mode chart, playing the games, or biking.”

Darrell Davis, site coordinator for Safe Routes to Schools, met with the leadership class ahead of Bike to School Day in 2016. He helped with the transportation mode chart activity where students could log how they got to school (photo above), and worked with the class to develop outreach methods.

Darrell gives the students all the credit. “These kids are going to be our future politicians and leaders. They’re pivotal in getting their fellow students to turn out for events.”

Protected Bike Lane Gets Students to School

Many students at Lincoln Middle School are able to bike to school using the first protected cycle track in the East Bay, which was built on Fernside Boulevard in 2008. The protected bikeway connects to the Bay Farm bike bridge. Students can ride from home on Bay Farm Island without ever mixing with cars.

“Alameda is safe,” said eighth grader Erik Wölfl, “especially with the help of the curb on the outside of the bike lane.”

These great bikeways, along with some serious community organizing from the leadership class, have fostered a culture of biking to school at Lincoln. “Mornings are beautiful,” said Skye. “Biking by the bay is gorgeous.”

This year, leadership students are gearing up for an even bigger Bike to School Day. Ride on, Lincoln Lions!

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Back to the Spring 2017 issue of RideOn, Bike East Bay’s quarterly newsletter.
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