Celebrate International Walk to School Day with #SaveKidsLives

Celebrate International Walk to School Day with #SaveKidsLives

The 7th October signifies International Walk to School day. The day promotes the fact that walking and bicycling to school is fun, healthy, promotes a cleaner environment, promotes safety and has clear community benefits. As we know, all around the world, many children do not make it school. In fact over 500 children are killed everyday on the world's roads. We encourage you to celebrate International Walk to School Day by signing the Child Declaration for Road Safety to #SaveKidsLives

 

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Watch "Safe to Learn" by Richard Stanley commissioned by the FIA Foundation


International Walk to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – participate every October.

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Promoting International Walk to School day has many benefits including:

It's Fun!
Remember the thrill of riding a bike for the first time or walking to school that first day?

There’s a feeling of joy and independence —a sense of adventure—that doesn’t fade. When walking or biking, parents and children get to appreciate things they don’t notice while driving—listening to the sounds of the neighborhood, seeing friends and neighbors and feeling connected with their community. Parents, children and friends can enjoy one another’s company without the usual distractions.

Walking and bicycling events celebrate these experiences and help make them possible for others. They bring schools and communities together for a common purpose. Most of all, they are fun!

We don’t usually walk to school, but after today we found out that it’s not that far. Now we plan to walk more often because it’s fun and safe! – Parent, California

Healthier Habits
Walking and bicycling to school enables children to incorporate the regular physical activity they need each day while also forming healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Regular physical activity helps children build strong bones, muscles and joints, and it decreases the risk of obesity. In contrast, insufficient physical activity can contribute to chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke.

Cleaner Environment
I love Walk to School Day. It makes less pollution in the air. It is healthy for you. – Student, California

When families decide to lace up their sneakers or strap on their bike helmets to get to school  instead of riding in a car, they help reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted by automobiles.

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Promoting Safety
The best part of the walk was walking for safety to help make the children’s walk to school a safe pathway and to teach them the importance of this event. – PTA Safety Committee Member, Utah

  • Children and adults need to learn safe walking and bicycling skills.
  • Drivers need to watch for others using the road.
  • Safety problems along routes to school need to be fixed.

Many of the ways in which children can be safer on the way to school is highlighted in the Child Declaration for Road Safety.


Community Benefits
My favorite part of Walk to School Day was seeing so many families and people from our community come together to enjoy a safe and healthy morning walk to school. – Parent, Ohio

The whole community benefits from efforts to enable and encourage more children to walk or bicycle to school safely. Benefits include:

  • Less traffic congestion. According to the 2011 National Center for Safe Routes to School report, personal vehicles taking students to school accounted for 10 to 14 percent of all personal vehicle trips made during the morning peak commute times (based on National Household Travel Survey Data, 2009). Reducing the number of private vehicles commuting to school can reduce morning traffic around the school. Less traffic congestion also improves conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists, creating a positive cycle—as the community sees more people walking and biking, more people feel comfortable walking and bicycling.
     
  • Stronger sense of community.The common goal of improving conditions for walking and bicycling brings families, neighbors, school officials and community leaders together. The sense of community also builds as children and parents develop walking and bicycling buddies and chat with neighbors on the sidewalk or path.
     
  • Safer streets. Communities with higher rates of walking and bicycling tend to have lower crash rates for all travel modes. One reason may be that motorists drive more cautiously when they expect to encounter walkers and bicyclists. More walkers and bicyclists can also improve personal security by providing more “eyes on the street.”
     
  • Lower costs. Encouraging and enabling bicycle and pedestrian trips reduces costs for the family, community and school district. Families save on gas, communities spend less on building and maintaining roads and school districts spend less on busing. In fact, one school district calculated $237,000 in annual savings.
     
  • Improved accessibility. Enabling students of all abilities to walk and bicycle to school makes it easier for everyone in the community to get around, including parents with strollers, senior citizens, residents without cars and residents with temporary or permanent mobility impairments.
     
  • Economic gains. Sidewalks, paths and other investments in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure can increase home values and direct additional traffic to local businesses.


Read more about the International Walk to School Day here.

Get resources to encourage your children to walk to school safely here.

 

 

 

Links

Sign up to the #SaveKidsLives Campaign
Ger resources on International Walk to School Day