Santa Monica High School’s (Samohi) Solar Alliance is encouraging a car free campus on “Bike It Day” Wednesday, October 21st, when high school staff and students are urged to double the number of cyclists, walkers and bus riders to school.

“Last year, Bike to School day laid the basis for change with 150 students riding bikes and 300 walking,” Lulu Mickelson, Samohi senior and Solar Alliance president said. “This year we want to directly change campus culture by getting more students and staff out of cars and onto bikes, the Big Blue Bus or their own two feet.”

The campus currently includes about 3,050 students, along with 160 teachers and 440 additional staff members. The entry points to campus for car drop-offs on Olympic Boulevard or Michigan Avenue and Seventh Street are routinely congested with cars and vehicle emissions, while approximately 400 cars park on campus daily, according to Solar Alliance.

“Bikes are a smart, fun way to get around Santa Monica. We want cyclists and bikes to break records on Bike It Day,” Mickelson added “The real cost of a car is about $2.73 per mile, so our local school drop-off is expensive in both dollars, and traffic stress. Today’s Samohi car culture is extremely damaging for the environment.”

The Samohi Solar Alliance members say their intense campaign of fact and persuasion embraces every group on campus, highlighting the real cost of driving; the environmental issues; and the benefits of bikes, buses and walking. Initiated during Back to School night, the campaign also targets parents and staff.

“It’s a big idea so we want very broad support to make Bike It Day and the Car Free Campus a success” Richard McKinnon, Bike It Day chair and Samohi parent, said. “Teachers, administrators, staff and parents are being asked to support the students. PTA, Santa Monica Spoke, the Big Blue Bus, the city, and police; local bike shops and environmental groups are all being actively coordinated and involved in planning.”

McKinnon noted that a major focus of the campaign will be safety and getting youths to wear a bike helmet.