Whether it’s your children, your nieces and nephews, your cousins or the neighbor’s children, encourage these kids to walk to school on October 9, 2013. National Walk to School Day is coming up and while it promotes healthy activity and less commuting by car, there’s more to it than you might think. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is keeping kids safe on their way to school.
SRTS was originally used in Denmark where in the 1970s children’s safety while walking or biking to school became an issue. With the program a huge success, countries all over the world began their own SRTS programs.
The first SRTS program in the United States began in 1997 in Bronx, N.Y. when it was clear that designated routes for children walking to school would help keep them safe. Without designated safe routes children that are either walking or biking to school run the risk of being hit or caught in the middle of other accidents, and possibly being abducted.
In 1998 with the help of Congress two SRTS programs were implemented through the United States Department of Transportation. Over the next couple of years it took off and SRTS programs spread across the United States. There are now SRTS programs in all 50 states that provide support to over 14,000 schools. SRTS programs support children walking to school or biking from urban and rural communities and from families with different levels of income.
For National Walk to School Day this year, send your kids to school on foot or by bike and support the SRTS programs that keep them and other children safe on their way to school. If the schools in your area aren’t registered, it’s not too late. You can still register with SRTS, get your community involved, and even plan an event in just seven days.