Share Share Safe streets are the best tool we have to combat climate change tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email In the 1960s, about half of American kids walked or biked to school. Now its 13 percent. Courtesy of the City of Los Angeles Started in 1997, International Walk to School Day now counts tens of thousands of students in 40 countries—including students at 5,100 schools in the U.S. alone—who pledge to walk and bike to school on the same day each year. Walk to School Day also brings attention to the dismal conditions under which many students must walk and bike to school every day.
That is, if their parents even allow them to walk or bike. Where I live, in Los Angeles, its not hard to understand why most parents dont. Here, on streets designed for the fast movement of cars, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for kids aged 4 to 15.
At least once a month when Im talking to fellow parents, I hear a different version of the same sentiment: I have to drive my kids to school—its too dangerous for them to walk.
Students, parents skip rides for International Walk to School Day
Reverting to cars for short trips like the journey to school is one reason that transportation emissions keep going up in the U.S.—a third of our vehicular trips are three miles or less. Yet you can see the evidence that people want to walk and bike on virtually any weekend in the U.S. People of all ages move through our cities during open streets events—in LAs case, its over 100,000 people per event. But the reason those people arent traveling on foot or bike along the same streets to school or work on Monday? They dont feel safe.
Its International Walk to School Day!
The new reality of our climate crisis has been outlined in stark detail by a devastating United Nation report published this week; its clear that unsafe pedestrian and biking conditions in our cities could end up making climate change much, much worse.
The day is dedicated to raising awareness and support for the health, community and environmental benefits of regularly walking or biking to school.
According to Ty Schmidt, the executive director of Norte, about 26 schools are participating and more than 700 students are signed up to participate in Wednesdays event.
Schmidt said the school with the most students participating will receive the title of Most Walk-tastic School.
If you are participating, we would love to see your “National Walk to School Day” pictures! You can submit them on our Chime In page!
KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Ditch the car keys and lace up those walking shoes, Wednesday is International Walk to School Day!