This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Today, thousands of students, parents and communities representing more than 4,300 schools across the United States will walk and bicycle to school to celebrate International Walk to School Day. Here in Western Nevada, 19 schools across Carson City, Lyon and Douglas counties will participate as well.
“Walk to School Day is a chance for families and schools to come together to promote safe walking and bicycling in their communities,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which serves as the national coordinating agency for the event. “This event helps reinforce the importance of physical activity, safe transportation environments for walking and bicycling, and provides an opportunity for families to connect with their neighborhood and community.”
This one-day event in the U.S. is a part of an international effort in more than 40 countries to celebrate the many benefits of safely walking and bicycling to school and to encourage more families to consider getting out of the car and onto their feet on the way to school in October and throughout the school year. For parents who normally drop their children off at school, Walk to School Day is a great opportunity to try walking. Park a few blocks away from school and walk from there to get in some physical activity and walk together.
Locally, the event is coordinated by the Western Nevada Safe Routes to School Program, which works to ensure children in schools across the region have the skills to walk and bike safely and the areas around schools are safe for them to do so. Western Nevada Safe Routes to Schools offers bicycle and pedestrian safety education, provides incentives to children who walk and bike to school, and helps schools to develop programs that encourage safe walking and biking.
“Getting to and from school are two of the most important journeys children make every day,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. “Through our new pedestrian and bicycling initiative, “Safer People, Safer Streets,” we are providing communities with the streets, signals, bike paths and tools needed to make walking and bicycling safer for kids, parents and teachers.”
To learn more about National Walk to School Day, visit walkbiketoschool.org. For information on Western Nevada Safe Routes to Schools or other Health Department programs and services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us at www.facebook.com/cchhs.