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Tips for walking for biking to school with your child

Media contact:
Ethan Spotts, Active Transportation Alliance
312.427.3325 x 287
ethan@activetrans.org

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tips for walking for biking to school with your child

For Walk and Roll to School Day on Oct. 9, millions of kids around the world will be traveling to school on two feet or two wheels. Throughout Chicagoland, schools are holding rallies, assemblies, contests, and any number of other events to show students, parents and teachers the simple joy that comes with walking and biking to school.

“Just like eating a hearty breakfast, walking or biking to school is a healthy way for a child to start their day,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance (www.activetrans.org). “Incorporating active transportation into their daily lives makes for both a healthy body and a healthy mind.”

The light physical activity helps students focus their attention during the day, and studies show that it leads to a decrease in behavioral problems and improves grades. It also happens to be fun and good for the environment!
Some of the schools participating in Healthy CPS (Chicago Public Schools), an initiative that supports healthier school environments, led by the Chicago Public Schools Office of Student Health and Wellness and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will also host rallies and encourage kids to walk and bike to school this Wednesday. In conjunction with Active Trans, these schools will also create comprehensive Safe Routes Action Plans that contain solutions and strategies to encourage, promote and sustain walking and biking to their specific school.

Despite all the benefits, many parents find it challenging to incorporate walking or biking into their morning routine. Here are some tips for getting your students walking and biking to school this fall:

• Reduce the distance if it’s too far to walk between home and school. Find a location one-quarter to one-half a mile from school that will allow you to park your car while you walk with your child.
• Count the miles you walk or bike. Many schools ask students to track the number of miles they walk each day. The winning student/classroom can compete to win a prize.
• Teach your kids traffic safety while walking and bicycling with them. Once students get older, they will be able to use that information and be safer when traveling.
• Work with other parents in your neighborhood to take turns leading the kids and organizing a “walking school bus” or a “bike train.”
• Use the time spent walking and biking to school to bond with your children.
• Make it fun. Organize a Walk and Roll to School Day on International Walk to School Day, or expand your efforts by starting “walking/biking wednesdays.”
• Organize your efforts. If parents in surrounding neighborhoods are leading walking school buses or bike trains, map your routes and provide set meeting times for students to join.

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. The Active Transportation Alliance is North America’s largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by nearly 6,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 35 full-time staff. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.