Within the span of one generation, the percentage of children walking or bicycling to school has dropped precipitously, from about 50 percent in 1969 to just 13 percent in ‘09.
Health leaders and community partners around the state are working to change that.
The Indiana Safe Routes to School Partnership and Health by Design are encouraging schools and parents throughout the state to help students walk or bike to school on National Walk to School Day, Oct. 9.
Despite evidence that walking and biking provides physical benefits, as well as reduces neighborhood traffic congestion, household costs and auto emissions, the vast majority of students arrive at school in a vehicle.
“Walking to school used to be common, but today the number of students walking or biking to school is at an all-time low,” said Kim Irwin, who coordinates Health by Design and the Indiana Safe Routes to School Partnership. “We know safety is critically important and have suggestions for ensuring the safest routes possible.”
Several schools in Indiana actively promote walking and biking, and parents who are involved with those efforts are eager to share the benefits.
Tips on how to organize a Walk to School Day event at a school or in a neighborhood are available online at www.walkbiketoschool.org.
The Indiana Safe Routes to School Partnership works to increase the number of children safely walking and biking to school throughout the state by sharing information, resources, technical assistance, and ideas. It is a collaborative effort spearheaded by Health by Design and comprised of government, community, health and education organizations
For more information, visit the website at www.healthbydesignonline.org.