The Decline in Biking and Walking
Unlike their parents and grandparents who may have memories of walking or riding bikes for miles to school (uphill in both directions through deep snow as they tell their stories) many of today’s elementary school students ride to school in private vehicles.
This decline in self-propelled commuting to school often reflects a sedentary lifestyle dominated by television and video games. The inevitable result has been an epidemic in childhood obesity and the associated risks for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma and cancers.
Parents have understandable reasons for wanting to drive their kids to school. They fear their children will be victimized by crime and bullying, and they worry about traffic hazards.
Unfortunately, the influx of private vehicles and corresponding decline in walking and biking does more than damage children’s health. Idling cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs add to traffic congestion around schools, waste fuel, and add to air pollution.
Fortunately, there are better ways to protect children who live near schools. People in communities throughout the country have found innovative solutions that work at the local level.