JUNEAU — Thousands of students, parents and communities representing more than 3,700 schools across the United States walked and biked to school to celebrate International Walk to School Day on Wednesday, according to a release from the Alaska Department of Transportation. This one-day event was part of an international effort to encourage more families to get out of their cars and on to their feet to enjoy the many benefits of safely walking and bicycling to school.
The goal of the event is to lead by example and to educate while also having fun, according to a release from the Department of Transportation. Organizers hope to promote and encourage safe habits in students. These include walking defensively, wearing bright colors and augmenting clothing with reflective items to help motorists see them during Alaska’s darker fall and winter months.
The event was organized by SAFE KIDS ALASKA and corporate sponsor, Fed-Ex, as part of the “Walk this Way” Pedestrian Safety Program.
When walking to or from school DOT&PF would like to encourage students to follow the six simple steps to staying safe:
• When walking, stop at every curb or edge. Walk on the left, facing traffic, it’s safer.
• Always stop, look and listen, especially while crossing. Look left, look right, then left again before stepping past any curb or edge, or when pulling out of a driveway on your bike.
• Always wear a helmet when riding a bike.
• Never ride against traffic. Watch for the “right hook.” Be especially careful around cars that can turn in front of you!
• Know what signs say. Follow all traffic signs and signals.
• See, be seen, be heard. Use lights at night or when visibility is poor. Wear bright clothing and use lights and reflectors on your outer wear and gear. Remember: be safe, be seen.
To learn more about Safe Routes to School Program visit dot.alaska.gov/saferoutes or contact Steve Soenksen, DOT&PF Safe Routes to School Coordinator, 907-465-4069, firstname.lastname@example.org.