Disease Control and Prevention.
- Strengthening the Community – providing parents and neighbors with an opportunity to interact with each other while walking and biking on their way to school, forming new friendships and building a stronger sense of community
- Raising Environmental Awareness – Parents driving children to school accounts for 20 to 25 percent of morning traffic. Walking and biking to school reduces the number of vehicles on the road, helping to lower air pollution and traffic congestion.
- Fostering Safer Streets – focusing on improved street and sidewalk conditions for bicycling and walking
- Promoting Walking and Biking Safely – encouraging children to learn life skills from adults who accompany them on walks, such as road safety and personal awareness skills
- Increasing School Spirit – Whether wearing school colors or carrying a school mascot, children and adults alike can come together to celebrate the event while taking pride in their community.
At the Netcong Elementary School, a pre-K through 8th grade school in western Morris County, the school’s Walk and Roll Club participates in a
“Walk & Roll Wednesday” walk and bike to school event each month. The events are held rain or shine, canceled only in the event of heavy rain or snow. In addition, the Netcong PTA has planned a year’s worth of themed Walk and Bike to School events touching on a variety of Safe Routes to School themes and concerns (see sidebar). With a full year’s worth of themes, Netcong’s monthly Walk and Bike to School events have kept children interested in coming back, anxious to see what they will do and learn each month as they walk or bike to school.
Other Ways to Keep Kids Interested
In addition to themed events, there are plenty of activities that can help add excitement to walk and bike to school programs. Some ideas include:
- Holding a class-by-class walking competition: Reward the class that turns out the greatest percentage of students walking to school at each event, and the one that collectively walks the greatest distance. Or, reward the class that increases its percentage of walkers the most from event to event.
- Walk Around the World: Work with the school to record how many miles the children have walked and where around the world they could have reached. After each event, teach the children a little something about each place visited, such as language, music, wildlife,