Join Bedford as we celebrate International Walk and Bike to School Day on Wednesday October 9, 2013! This is a global event that involves students and families from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-time event; however it has grown to become part of a movement for year-round Safe Routes to School program, galvanizing visibility for walking and biking – with record breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico participate.
Originally organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America, Walk to School Day in the USA began in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities. In 2000, the event became international when the UK and Canada and the USA joined together for the first International Walk to School Day.
Bedford has been active in Safe Routes to School and the Walk and Bike events since 2009. Each year the number of students and families participating has grown substantially. Even more exciting is that increasing numbers of students and families are finding ways to continue their walking and biking habits throughout the school year! For example, JGMS requested an additional bike rack to accommodate the number of students currently biking to school!
Reasons people walk or bike are varied, but some common ones include:
- Walking and bicycling can bring a sense of joy and independence.
- Kids build important social skills while they walk or bike with their peers.
- Walking and biking in your neighborhood boosts a sense of community and neighborhood connections. It also reinforces healthy habits.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends school-age children get a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Adults need 30 minutes most days, so walking or biking with your child will help you reach that goal! Also, studies show students who arrive at school with a moderate amount of activity before arrival (even 10 or 15 minutes counts) are much more focused and ready to learn. Replacing car trips to school with walking or bicycling can reduce congestion and air-polluting emissions. Lastly, walking and bicycling to school can help build support for infrastructure improvements in the broader community. Building sidewalks, providing education programs and adding traffic calming measures are some of the ways to improve safety.
This year both Davis School and Lane School will be offering chaperoned events. Look to your school newsletter or to learn more about International Walk and Bike to School day, or Bedford’s Safe Routes to School Program see: www.bedfordma.gov/BedfordInMotion or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.