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Ride to School Program Hands Out Free Bikes

Updated: Monday, August 25 2014, 09:20 PM CDT

The first day of school just got even more exciting for dozens of third, fourth, and fifth graders at Hart Elementary School in Northeast Austin.

"You would think it was Christmas morning they were so excited," said Chris Moore, from Safer Routes to School.

Thanks to Austin's Bike to School Pilot Program 300 of them will have a brand new set of wheels to ride to and from school.

"Get them out, get them active, get them ready for school, get the wiggle out before they even come to the classroom and then they are ready to learn," Moore said.

The bridge that connects the Rundberg area to the neighborhood right around Hart Elementary School just went up earlier this year. That means a lot more kids can now walk or bike to school.

"We hope they start using active transportation to get to and from school. We know that it improves academics and we know it makes healthier children," said Moore.

In Austin alone, 20 percent of all school age kids are considered overweight. The city measured the body mass index and test scores of each child taking part. They'll measure both again in September and then again in May.

"It's a study to see if we provide these types of services if they do improve on attendance, their health and academics," said Moore.

Depending on results, the city would like to expand to other schools and get even more kids rolling.

The bikes are free for the kids, but before they can ride off they go through a two hour training class and then have to pass a test. The city will be handing out more bikes next week.

By Ericka Miller

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Ride to School Program Hands Out Free Bikes

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