Monday, October 19, 2009

Michigan Tops List in Walk to School Month

kids walking
(photo from Michigan Walk to School)
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based on a news article in the Baltimore Sun

International Walk to School Month, October, gives children, parents, school teachers and community leaders an opportunity to be part of a global event as they celebrate the many benefits of walking. Millions of walkers from around the world walk to school together for various reasons – all hoping to create communities that are safe places to walk. International Walk to School Month is a program of the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

Michigan tops the list of participating states with 446 schools registered.

The U.S. National Household Travel Survey reports that parents of schoolchildren most often report many reasons for choosing to drive their children rather than allow them to walk. These reasons include distance to the school, traffic danger, poor weather, and fear of crime. The survey also states that in 1969, 42 percent of children 5 to 18 years walked to school, but by 2001 the number had dropped to 16 percent.

Some parents make a point to take advantage of the event to walk to school with their children, and if they have days when this is not possible, they don't allow the children to walk either.

But in Baltimore where one mother organized a program called "Walking Wednesdays," there is a general increase in walking. People seem to be breaking the habit of always getting into their car. The Walking Wednesday program helps student total and chart the miles walked. In other years the kids did the equivalent of walks across China, Africa, Europe, and South America. This year, they are charting the progress across the United States.

See International Walk to School
See Michigan Walk to School
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