Lace the kids’ shoes and grease the chains on their bikes because International Walk (and Bike) to School Day is Wednesday, October 8! Activate Buffalo County will be promoting the day and hopes to see a larger turnout than they did in May, where 80% of students at participating schools walked or biked to school.
“Events like these are great at building awareness,” said Safe Routes to School Coordinator Kate Hannon. “We want to create something that’s more than just a day, though. These kids enjoy walking to school, and through our surveys we’ve seen that they want to walk to school. We’re hoping to use the momentum of this day to help grow our efforts.”
Activate Buffalo County, through Safe Routes to School, is working to get students walking to school each week. They’ve helped implement the “Walking Wednesdays” program at Northeast Elementary, as well as a daily walking program at Park Elementary.
In a recent parent survey conducted at five Buffalo County schools, the coalition found that 59% of students lived within half a mile of school, while over 75% of students were driven to school each day. In addition, nearly 85% of students who lived within that half mile had asked their parents about walking or biking to school. Parents listed traffic, safety, and weather as the major barriers preventing them from allowing their child to walk or bike to school.
Safe Routes to School is working with parents, principals, school staff, law enforcement, and city officials to work towards creative solutions to improve safety and increase the number of students who walk and bike to school.
“Through enforcement, education, and participation, we are working towards a safer community,” Hannon said. “The City of Kearney has been a great partner and encourages parents, teachers, and community members to utilize Access Kearney to share city improvements and other comments.”