SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Hundreds of South Plainfield students and their parents took to the pavement and headed to school on foot and bikes the morning of Oct. 7 in support of the Partnership for a Walkable America’s Walk to School Day 2015.
Held annually on the first Wednesday of the first full week in October, the international event is intended to raise awareness and support for the health, community and environmental benefits of regularly walking or biking to school.
“Walk to School Day brings parents, teachers, children, and community leaders together to focus on the importance of physical activity, safety and walkable communities,” states walkbiketoschool.org. “Walk to School Day events teach kids and parents to think of walking as an active, safe and healthy means of transportation.”
Additionally, Walk to School Day is aimed at reminding parents and children of the simple joy of walking to school while also increasing awareness about the need for safer walking routes for children.
“Through annual surveys, local Walk to School Day coordinators across the country have told us how a simple one-day event has led to great changes such as long-term walking and bicycling programs, new sidewalks and pathways, enforcement of unsafe driving behaviors and needed policy changes at schools and in communities,” according to www.walkbiketoschool.org. “Improvements that normally take a long time to institute can happen quickly when city officials walk or bicycle to school with students and see firsthand what needs to be done.”
The first National Walk to School Day – called Walk Our Children to School Day – was held 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 (both of which had already been promoting walking to school) and the USA joined together for the first International Walk to School Day. Today, thousands of schools across America with participants from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico take part in the awareness event.
The success of Walk to School Day, as well as continued interest in bicycling to school, created a desire for a national event focused on bicycling to school and, in May 2012, the first National Bike to School Day was held in coordination with the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Month.
Although Walk to School Day is focused more on walking and Bike to School Day is focused more on bicycling, both days welcome and encourage all forms of active transportation to school.
For more information Walk to School, visit http://Walkbiketoschool.org.