Walk or Bike to School?
2 September, 2010
Today someone encouraged kids to walk or ride their bikes to school, in Utah. It was a neighbor of mine. He is a politician. And it struck some people as nearly comical. The following is the transcript of the story found on KSL.
By Amanda ButterfieldSALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert started his day Wednesday with elementary school students, encouraging them to walk to school safely.
he governor met as many students as he could while at Rosecrest Elementary School. He was there to kickoff the Walk More in Four program — a statewide safe walking and biking to school challenge.
“It starts with young people,” Herbert said. “Walking and biking to school is a good, healthy lifestyle.”
The challenge for all Utah students in elementary school and junior high is to walk or bike at least three times a week for four weeks during September — and to do it safely.
“They sometimes forget, especially when they’re with friends, and I think that this will help them remember to watch for cars and be aware of things around them,” said parent Jennifer Jessop.
Salt Lake County sheriff’s deputies were also there to teach and remind the kids to always be safe. The deputies gave the students a map of the best route to take.
“It is a very good program, especially around our school because we have busy streets. And if we know how to walk safely, the map in place, they know where to go; it’s a great program,” Jessop said.
The students will chart their progress during the month and have chanced to win prizes like helmets, bikes and scooters.
The governor hopes even after the four-week challenge is up, kids and parents will keep moving.
“It’s also about lifestyle. People need to think in terms of walking. We sometimes, as adults, park too close to Walmart. We ought to park out in the far side of the parking lot and walk in to do our shopping,” Herbert said.
The Walk More in Four challenge leads up to the International Walk To School Day in October.
Now, I don’t know about you, but walking through the Wal-mart parking lot doesn’t strike me as a healthy thing to do. Also, and most importantly, I don’t understand the emphasis placed on children being safe around cars by watching for the cars. That seems more than a little backwards to me. Don’t get me wrong, I own and drive a car. But to my mind, it is those who are using the deadly weapon who should be watching for the vulnerable, not the other way around. We certainly need to do more to make things safer for our kids to enable them to walk or bike to school. My daughter rides to school and I get very nervous when we take her. I don’t worry so much about my daughter. I worry about all of the deadly weapons people are driving their kids to school in. How about you? Should the onus be on the kids, or the drivers and the government to make things safe? If you want some more to chew on, visit the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, or the Safe Routes to School FHWA Safety Program.