CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Oct. 8, 2013) — On Wednesday, Oct. 9, thousands of students, parents and community members representing more than 3,800 schools across the United States will walk and bicycle to school to celebrate International Walk to School Day. This one-day event is part of an international effort to encourage more families to enjoy the many benefits of safely walking and bicycling to school.
Schools and communities are bringing a level of excitement and commitment to the event that the founders could only have dreamed of back in 1997 when Walk to School Day began with a single school. Since then, Walk to School Day participation has grown every year, with the 4,281 events registered through www.walkbiketoschool.org in 2012, setting another record. Around the world, at least 40 countries celebrate International Walk to School Day and Month.
“There is no better way to encourage students and their families to engage in a lifetime of healthy activities than giving them the experience of walking and biking to school,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which serves as the coordinating agency for the event. “Walk to School Day is often the first step in motivating children to make safe, healthy choices.”
“As a parent, I know how important it is that all children have the ability to get to school safely, whether they walk, bike or take the school bus,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx. “Thanks to the National Center for Safe Routes to School and many other wonderful local, state, and national organizations, more and more families are learning that walking is an option, a choice I hope they continue to use throughout October and the rest of the school year.”
“Not only does Walk to School Day teach children about pedestrian safety, it also allows them to experience a different and healthy way to get to school,” said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez. “I’m proud to support the thousands of parents, children and communities celebrating Walk to School Day.”
Walk to School events will be held nationwide on Wednesday and throughout the month of October. To view the names and locations of registered U.S. schools participating in Walk to School Day 2013, visit www.walkbiketoschool.org/go/whos-walking/2013.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School maintains the Walk and Bike to School website, www.walkbiketoschool.org, with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Partners joining the National Center in the celebration include Let’s Move!, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, Safe Kids Worldwide, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.
The National Center also serves as the clearinghouse for the Federal Safe Routes to School Program, established in 2005, which strives to create safe settings to enable more parents and children to walk and bicycle to school. More than 14,500 schools participate in programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Accomplishments include increases in walking and bicycling to school, speed reductions within the school zone, and reductions in school transportation costs. Programs reach urban, rural and suburban areas throughout the nation.
For more information about Walk to School Day, visit www.walkbiketoschool.org.
For a complete list of other countries participating in Walk to School Day, visit: www.iwalktoschool.org/whoswalking.
About The National Center for Safe Routes to School
Established in May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The National Center serves as the clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program. The organization also provides technical support and resources and coordinates online registration efforts and provides technical support and resources for U.S. Walk to School Day and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation.
The National Center is part of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.com.