For your health, for the environment, and for plain old fun, ditch your (or your parents’) car and join thousands of students across the globe in walking to school on Walk to School Day, scheduled for October 9 this year. (That’s tomorrow!)
An international event that takes place every October, Walk to School Day was created by the Partnership for a Walkable America in 1997 to raise awareness of the need for walkable communities, promote pedestrian safety among school age children, and encourage students to walk, bike, and try other active forms of transportation.
Today, many communities and organizations celebrate Walk to School Day for a full week in October or for the entire month. Walk to School Day has also become a year-round movement for creating safe routes to school.
Now, you might be thinking that a car seems much quicker, safer, and comfortable, so why walk? The National Center for Safe Routes to School gives five solid reasons why you should walk to school (and why you’ll enjoy it):
- Fun! Whether alone or with friends, walking gives you a burst of energy and a sense of joy and brings you closer to nature. Walking to school can also bring a sense of independence.
- Healthy! Walking (or biking) to school is a great and simple way to stay physically active.
- Environment-friendly! Replacing a car ride with walking or biking reduces air-polluting emissions and creates a cleaner environment and fresher air.
- Safety! Walking to school promotes safety by encouraging cities and communities to build more sidewalks, provide education programs, add traffic calming measures, and make other safety and infrastructure improvements.
- Community benefits! Walking to school benefits the community as a whole by reducing traffic, boosting a sense of community, and improving neighborhood connections.
Even if you live too far from to school to start walking or biking from your house, you can still participate in Walk to School Day. The National Center for Safe Routes to School provides three ways that you can participate in Walk to School Day, no matter how close or far from school you live.
Parents: Before you send your children off to school by foot, teach them about pedestrian safety to ensure they arrive at school and come back home safe and sound. Pedestrian safety can also be taught in the classroom as part of Walk to School Day/Week/Month or throughout the entire year. For resources on teaching pedestrian safety to children, visit www.walkbiketoschool.org.