Sakai students take part in bike to school day

Students at Sakai ride their bikes on a special course at their school
Students at Sakai ride their bikes on a special course at their school's ball field.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review

On your marks. Get set. Go to school.

More than 200 students geared up and pedaled their way to class to take part in this year’s Bike to School Day.

Bike to School Day was held in conjunction with Bike to Work Day on Friday,

May 18. Thousands of pedal-powered commutes occurred that day, and the students at Sakai Intermediate School were among them.

“Bike to School Day has been a Sakai tradition since we opened in 1999,” said Bob Dwyer, a PE teacher at Sakai.

“Looks like we had over 200 ride this year,” he added

Students were organized in the weeks leading up to the big day, with meeting locations across the island that would start them on safe routes to the school on Sportsman Club Road.

Since its inception, the bicycling event has evolved into a bigger occasion each year.

This year, the school’s entire sports field was taken over by the bikes.

Bike-sized roads were painted on the grass. They weaved through the field with stop signs and other roadway accents to help students practice safe bike skills, such as hand signals for turning and stopping. The course even included a roundabout in the center of the field.

“Our field mowing and painting is our latest twist, relying heavily on our district’s grounds crew for the field maintenance,” Dwyer said.

Parking enforcement for Bainbridge Island donated a speed monitoring sign — those machines on the side of the road that remind drivers how fast they are traveling. Students could see how fast they were riding while on a straightaway track.

Island Police Officer Carla Sias made an appearance, equipped with stickers, pencils and a smile. Steve Hanners from BI Cycle and volunteer Timothy Witten also were present to help riders with bike maintenance and to keep tires full of air.

But the fun didn’t stop there. Participating students got to take part in a raffle with prizes from Bon Bon, Mora Iced Creamery, Bainbridge Cinema and key chains from the Cascade Bicycling Club.

“Our PTO allocates us funds for stickers, raffle prizes and after-ride snacks and we try to scrape as much as possible from Cascade Bicycling club and other organizations that emphasize this non-motorized day,” Dwyer said.

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