Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on September 30th, 2005 at 1:03 pm
Next week is Oregon’s statewide “Walk + Bike to School Day.” On Wednesday thousands of kids across the state will walk and ride bikes to school instead of driving. The event is meant to raise awareness for the Safe Routes to School Program which is headed up locally by the BTA.
Robert Ping, program director of Safe Routes to School has been working with parents and teachers to identify barriers to walking and biking, teach kids safe biking skills, and show kids how much fun walking and biking to school can be. He hopes to reach 10,000 kids at 60 schools across the state…now that’s a critical mass!
So why do we need more kids to walk and bike to school? Why did the federal gov’t just allocate millions of dollars to the Safe Routes to School program? Ahh, let me count the ways:
- The obesity rate for children has ballooned to 25% since 1970.
- Asthma rates for kids have gone up 160% in the past 15 years.
- Motor vehicle use is the #1 source of air pollution.
- Cost of health problems associated with obesity in the U.S. in the year 2000 was $117 billion!!
You can get involved by telling your friends and neighbors with kids to participate and check out their school’s Walk and Bike activities. For more info, and a list of schools, visit the Walk+Bike website or call 1-866-452-8300.
With all the recent talk about bike safety issues in and around Portland, I think this is a great program to teach kids from the start how to be responsible and safe cyclists. These little guys are the bike community leaders of tomorrow!