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R.D. White Elementary students pedal to class

With racks full, Bike to School Day called a success at R.D. White.

May 08, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com
  • R.D. White Elementary School 1st grader Rafael Bodeant, 7, arrives to school on his bike, with his father Rafael Bodeant behind him, on Bike to School Day at the Glendale school on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. About 25 children rode their bikes to school from various locations.
R.D. White Elementary School 1st grader Rafael Bodeant,… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

There was hardly any space left for students to park their bikes at R.D. White Elementary Wednesday morning after dozens peddled to school as part of the nationally recognized Bike to School Day.

The event came less than a week after 13-year-old Jonathan Hernandez, a student at Roosevelt Middle School, died after he was struck by a school bus while riding his bicycle.

Still, the organizers of "Bike to School Day" remained committed to hosting the event to encourage students to ride their bikes to school, reinforce safety tips and promote exercise.

Students at Jefferson and Columbus elementaries will bike to school later this month as part of the same program.

In Glendale, an average of 100 pedestrians and 50 bicyclists are struck by vehicles each year, resulting in injuries and fatalities, according to the city.

Kara Sergile, one of the event's organizers, has promoted the district's "Walk to School Day" for years under the district's Safe Routes to School program. She led a pack of students by riding her bike to R.D. White.

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But before students rode together, Sergile reviewed some safety tips.

Nathalie Winiarski, an avid biker and member of Walk Bike Glendale, checked that bike helmets were properly secured and said she hopes that students continue riding their bikes to school.

"We want to see that it happens all the time," Winiarski said. "Not just on one day."

As a flight attendant years ago, Winiarski took to riding bikes all over the world during layovers when she didn't have access to a car.

"Learning the basic rules of the road is absolutely instrumental. That can so easily save their lives," she said.

After the bicyclists arrived at R.D. White and parked their bikes, Sergile counted 21 of them at a single rack, and called the day a success.

"Normally, there are just two or three bikes," she said.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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