CHARLOTTE, N.C. (October 4, 2017) – Students across the Carolinas are gearing up to walk and bike to school today (October 4) for national Walk & Bike to School Day. The Carolinas are more involved than ever – with 296 registered schools in North Carolina and 213 registered schools in South Carolina. North Carolina is even the fourth largest participator in the event.
The first National Walk to School Day was held in 1997 and expanded to include biking to school in 2012. The National Center for Safe Routes to School promotes the event for a variety of reasons.
Walking and biking to school allows children to appreciate things they don’t notice while driving and allows them to feel a sense of connection with the rest of the community while walking together. The physical activity promotes healthy habits by getting children active. With everyone walking and biking to get to school, the automobile traffic is heavily reduced, which cuts back on air pollutants to make our atmosphere cleaner.
Additionally, the event was created to promote traffic safety.
Over the last decade, nearly one-third of child pedestrian fatalities have occurred after school hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Approximately 815 students die annually and more than 150,000 are injured during travel between school and home – statistics that do not include special activity trips and other school related journeys.
National Walk & Bike to School Day hopes to curb these numbers teaching children the proper street skills and teaching drivers to pay more attention to pedestrians on the road.
AAA believes National Walk & Bike to School Day is a good time to remind motorists of these tips for sharing the road:
- Wait your turn (It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus)
- Don’t drive distracted
- Check the medians
- Leave extra room between your vehicle and others
- Slow down
In total, the entire community benefits from this national day in many ways including:
- Less traffic congestion
- Stronger sense of community
- New physical activity and healthier habits
- Safer streets
- Lower costs
- Improved accessibility
This year, AAA Carolinas encourages every school in North and South Carolina to get involved with National Walk & Bike to School Day. School officials can see what other schools in the community have pledged to walk/bike and can also register their school for the event athttp://www.walkbiketoschool.org/.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2.1 million members and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.