SOMERVILLE, NJ - Students at Somerville schools and throughout Somerset County will lace up their sneakers and strap on bicycle helmets to participate in National Walk and Bike to School events throughout the month of October. 

Fourteen schools in Bound Brook, South Bound Brook, Bernardsville, Manville, North Plainfield, Raritan and Somerville are registered on the official website, walkbiketoschool.org, for events. 

These events offer communities the opportunity to promote and celebrate safe, active transportation. 

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Participation in this annual event, which is organized by RideWise, the transportation advocacy agency in Bridgewater, grows every year. 

“Walk to School events highlight the importance of creating safer routes for walking and cycling,” said Gerry Montague, program director for RideWise.  “They promote the importance of physical activity among children, while teaching them valuable safety skills,” said Montague.

In Somerville, Bound Brook, South Bound Brook, North Plainfield and Manville, schools are celebrating International Walk to School Day by holding walking school buses or walk to school events.  Many of the schools have themes associated with their walking events including Dress Like a Teacher Day or wearing school colors. 

In Raritan Borough, students will participate in a bike train that was organized by two borough parents three years ago.   A bike train is the biking equivalent of a walking school bus.  Each Tuesday, 20 students and parents in meet at a central starting point in Raritan and bike together to and from school. 

In Bernardsville, RideWise will be at Bernards High School for bike to school education.  Students will learn about bicycle safety including observing traffic laws, not biking on sidewalks, and ensuring lights on bicycles enable them to be safe and seen.

Students don’t need to bike or walk to school to get the benefit of the safety information.  At Hamilton School in Bridgewater, Weston School in Manville, and Marion T. Bedwell School in Bernardsville, students will take part in Safety Town, a hands-on, interactive learning exercise where students learn about the dangers associated with streets. 

“The concept of biking and walking to school is simple but the impact is enormous. Children are learning the importance of physical activity, how to bicycle or walk safely, and how they don’t need a car to get around,” said Donna Allison, RideWise executive director.