School’s in session……..is your state making the grade?

Every October is International Walk to School Month

Every October is International Walk to School Month – an opportunity for children to join hundreds of thousands of pupils across the globe celebrating the walk to school as well as giving them a chance to celebrate the many benefits of walking. Only a few decades ago, 48 percent of children aged 5 to 14 years usually walked or biked to school; by 2010, that number had dropped to 13 percent. In an attempt stop the downward trend, the first National Walk to School Day was held in 1997 as an attempt in the United States to raise awareness for the need of more walkable communities. The event became international when the United Kingdom and Canada joined, promoting more interest in countries around the world. Over time, this event has been part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation – each October.

This “Walktober”, take advantage of all benefits that Walk to School month has to offer. In addition to promoting outdoor activity and healthy lifestyles, children also learn basic safety education on how to cross streets and be more visible to drivers. In turn, drivers become more aware of the presence of walking students. Finally, walking to school also highlights the importance of necessary improvements that can be made to a community’s sidewalks and crosswalks, and beginning the process of addressing them.

One of the most important advantages of Walk to School Month is the fact that communities and schools can use this safe and healthy event as a step towards changing the culture and creating better options for getting around. This event can be a fun way to kick off a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. In fact, many participating communities use the event to work towards creating safe environments that support walking and bicycling every day, with events such as “Walking School Buses”, “Walk to School Parades”, and “Bike Trains”.

Need more information? Learn about the ways your community can participate at http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/ready/about-our-work/ways-to-participate. Information about how your community can plan a local event and participate can be found at www.walktoschool.org. Also see the International Walk to School Reports for success stories and statistics from around the globe! #10MinuteWalk

School’s in session……..is your state making the grade?