Local students pledge to walk, bike to school

kids bike, walk safely challenge udot
Photo courtesy of UDOT

ST. GEORGE — St. George students today pledged to walk and bike safely to school this year as part of the UDOT Student Neighborhood Access Program (SNAP)TM “Walk More in Four” challenge.

To promote safe walking and biking to school, UDOT launched its annual statewide challenge at Coral Cliffs Elementary. Walk More in Four encourages all Utah K-8 students to walk or bike to school at least three days each week during the four weeks in September leading up to International Walk to School Day, Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Students chart their progress for a chance to win prizes including helmets, scooters and bikes. New this year, the school with the highest percentage of students participating will win $500 to be used by its safety committee. Schools must pre-register for the competition by Sept. 7 (complete details and official rules are available at udot.utah.gov/snap).

“The start of school provides an opportunity for students to get in the habit of safely walking and biking to school all year,” said Robert Hull, UDOT director of traffic and safety. “Students not only stay active, but also reduce traffic congestion around schools, making these areas safer.”

The Walk More in Four progress chart is available for students to download at udot.utah.gov/snap. All participating students who return their chart to UDOT by Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, will be eligible for the drawing, which will take place on International Walk to School Day.

Students unable to walk to school due to distance can still participate by practicing safe habits while walking or biking in their neighborhoods. Throughout Walk More in Four and during the school year, parents can help their children practice safe walking and biking habits by discussing the following safety tips:

– Follow the safest route to school using the school’s SNAP Map (contact the school for a copy).
– Walk with a buddy or group.
– Walk on sidewalks where possible.
– Look left, then right, then left again when crossing a street.
– Cross only at crosswalks. Obey directions from school crossing guards and walk bikes and scooters across crosswalks.
–  Always wear a helmet when riding a bike. Make sure the helmet has a safety certification and fits properly.
–  Wear bright clothing, especially when riding a bicycle, to make it easier for traffic to see you — or tie a bright handkerchief around your backpack.
–  Never walk or ride with headphones. They are distracting and keep you from hearing traffic.

More tips and resources are available to parents and school administrators at udot.utah.gov/snap.

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