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May 1, 2014

Hoosiers encouraged to bike with kids to school

Within the span of one generation, the percentage of children walking or bicycling to school has dropped precipitously, from approximately 50 percent in 1969 to just 13 percent in 2009.

Health leaders and community partners around the state are working to change that.

The Indiana Safe Routes to School Partnership and Health by Design are encouraging schools and parents throughout the state to help students walk or bike to school on National Bike to School Day, Wednesday, May 7.

So far, 33 Hoosier school communities have registered their May 7 events on the national website, walkbiketoschool.org. There were no Southern Indiana schools registered as of Tuesday afternoon.

Despite evidence that walking and biking provides physical benefits, as well as reduces neighborhood traffic congestion, household costs and auto emissions, the vast majority of students arrive at school in a vehicle.

“Walking to school used to be common, but today the number of students walking or biking to school is at an all-time low,” said Kim Irwin, who coordinates Health by Design and the Indiana Safe Routes to School Partnership, in a press release. “We know safety is critically important and have suggestions for ensuring the safest routes possible.”

— News and Tribune

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