Iowa Kids Encouraged to Walk, Bike or Roll to School Today

(Radio Iowa) Iowa motorists will need to be extra watchful for pedestrians this (Wednesday) morning as this is Walk, Bike and Roll to School Day. Matt Burkey, manager of the Safe Routes to School program at the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, says the annual event encourages students to lace up their walking shoes or hop on their bicycles and find an alternative to riding the bus or getting a ride to school.

“So if you’re in walking distance, go for it. If there’s a safe way to bike there, do it,” Burkey says. “If you’ve got rollerblades, or if you need help getting around, like if you have a wheelchair or other mode of transportation, just find a way to get to school that doesn’t involve being dropped off right at the curb.” There are several motives behind the day, Burkey says, which includes promoting environmental sustainability, building communities, and physical fitness.

“We’ve been talking a lot about mental health issues with adults and young people these days,” Burkey says, “and every study out there shows that even a little bit of exercise is not only good for you physically but also good for you mentally.” The day is a great opportunity to get students excited about walking and biking, he says, while also promoting a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle, in addition to reducing their carbon footprint.

“I’m sure you’ve seen the school pick-up and drop-off lines in towns around Iowa and the country and it’s getting kind of bananas,” Burkey says. “The amount of cars there, the idling, the air pollution. That air pollution from idling cars is really bad, especially for kids since they’re so low to the ground.” Schools are encouraged to register their participation online and if they’re not taking part today, they can do so any day during May. Learn more at: www.walkbiketoschool.org