Environment Council of Rhode Island

...building an ecologically healthy future in a sustainable economy

International Walk to School Day

Pub Date: 
Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Whereas Americans took less than six percent of their trips on foot; and

Whereas for each mile traveled, walking is 36 times more dangerous than driving, and over 300 times more dangerous than flying; and

Whereas the American Medical Association recommends walking or bicycling for health; and

Whereas the health effects of not walking directly affect children as well as adults, and about 60 percent of obese children have risk factors that will probably translate into chronic diseases as adults; and

Whereas it is critical to teach children to look left-right-left before crossing streets, and to cross at designated crossings whenever possible; and

Whereas children are at greatest risk as pedestrians: roughly 5,700 pedestrians are killed by automobiles every year, and nearly 30,000 are injured - of these, almost one-third (30%) are children under the age of 15 -- yet they represent only about 15% of the US population; and

Whereas the physical environment does impact how much residents can and will walk - in research comparing communities with suburban sprawl to traditional communities, it was found there were three times as many pedestrian trips in the communities designed with pedestrians in mind; and

Whereas walking over driving a car helps to fight air pollution, global warming, and sprawl; and

Whereas the goals of International Walk to School Day are to:

  • Encourage children to walk and bicycle to and from school
  • Encourage physical fitness through the easiest-to-do and most enjoyable form of exercise
  • To teach children the skills to walk safely and to identify safe routes to school
  • To raise awareness of how walkable a community is and where improvements can be made
  • To raise concern for the environment
  • To reduce crime and take back neighborhoods for people on foot
  • To reduce traffic congestion, pollution, and speed near schools
  • To share valuable time with local community leaders, parents, and children

Now therefore be it resolved that the Environment Council of Rhode Island:

  • enthusiastically endorses International Walk to School Day
  • supports:
    • transit alternatives
    • clean air initiatives
    • ways to conserve our natural resources and our children's health and safety
  • calls for safety improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians