Walk to School Day offers exercise alternative

Posted October 3, 2008 10:39 a.m. EDT

The N.C. Division of Public Health is encouraging students to take an alternate route to school on Wednesday. Children who are more physically active benefit from increased alertness, which can help them do better in school.

Oct. 8 is International Walk to School Day. “Walk to School Day is a fun opportunity for children and their families to get some physical activity and provides a great way to learn and practice safe walking skills. We want children and their families to incorporate walking into their everyday lives, ” Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief of the Chronic Disease and Injury Section of the Division of Public Health, said.


The event also brings attention to the need for communities to ensure safer routes for walking and bicycling.

Advocates of the event offered these safety tips for those who would walk or bike to school.

  • Walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you have to walk in the road, face the traffic so that you can see cars coming and keep as far from the roadway (as far away from the traffic) as possible.
  • Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks. If there is a crosswalk button, press the button and wait for the walk sign to indicate that it is safe to cross.
  • Stop at the curb or edge of the road, look left, then right, and then left again (left right-left) before you step into the street.
  • If a car is parked where you are crossing, make sure there is no driver in the car then go to the edge of the car and look left right-left until no cars are coming. Keep looking for cars while you are crossing.
  • Walk, don’t run. This gives time for drivers to see you before you enter the roadway.

    Always wear a helmet that is properly fitted and complies with Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Standards when riding a bike.
  • Ride on the right side of the road or trail in a single file (one bicycle behind another) in the same direction as other vehicles, and come to a complete stop before crossing streets.
  • Always use proper hand signals when turning and stopping.
  • Use a bicycle bell to alert pedestrians that you are passing (this helps prevent crashes).