It's taking place on Wednesday, October 9th.
On October 9, students across the Maryland and the nation will participate in International Walk to School Day by walking or biking to school. In Maryland, there are 62 scheduled events. There are 3,636 registered events nationwide. "In Frederick County, Parkway Elementary School and West Frederick Middle School will be participating with extra activities scheduled to celebrate the day," said Ragina C. Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic's Manager of Public and Government Affairs.
"Walking or cycling to school is an excellent way to stay healthy and to help promote safe walking and biking skills in our youngest pedestrians," she said. "Drivers should pay extra attention and expect to see a greater number of children walking to and from school during their Wednesday commutes."
Initiated in the U.S. in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America, the events build awareness for the need for walkable communities and promote health and safety. As of 2012, more than 40 countries participated in International Walk to School Day events.
"Walking and bicycling to school enables children to incorporate the regular physical activity they need each day while also forming healthy habits that can last a lifetime," according to the official International Walk to School Day website. "Priority must be placed on making it possible for everyone to walk safely, especially in neighborhoods and school zones."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "There were a total of 4,432 pedestrian fatalities in 2011, the 14-and-younger age group accounted for 230 (5%) of those fatalities." NHTSA reports, "Seventy-nine percent of the pedestrian fatalities among the 14-and-younger age group occurred at non-intersection locations, a decrease from 82 percent in 2010."
AAA Mid-Atlantic and the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education offer the following Safe Walking Tips:
· Go directly to or from your destination using the safest route.
· Cross at corners.
· Cooperate with police, crossing guards and school safety patrols.
· Learn and obey all traffic signals.
· WALK across streets. Allow yourself plenty of time. Continue to look for approaching vehicles.
· Stop, look and listen and watch for turning vehicles.
· If you must walk on a road that has no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and as far from the road as possible.
· Be extra alert in bad weather. Drivers have trouble seeing and stopping in bad weather.
· If you must walk in the dark, wear reflective or light colored clothing and carry a flashlight.
· Stay alert. Don't assume that cars are going to stop.
To learn more about Walk to School Day, visit the official website at www.walktoschool-usa.org.