The “Walk More in Four” competition gives students a great incentive to walk and bike to school – prizes and improved safety around schools.
Nearly 4,000 Utah students from 76 schools kept track of the days they walked or biked to school for a chance to win donated prizes for the UDOT Student Neighborhood Access Program’s (SNAP)™ annual “Walk More in Four” statewide competition. To be eligible, students were required to walk or bike to school at least three days each week in September leading up to International Walk to School Day on Wednesday, October 5. Thirty children from around the state won donated bikes, helmets and scooters.
Nationwide, the number of students walking and biking to school has decreased in recent decades. Approximately 50 percent of children in 1969 walked or biked to school. Today, that number has dropped below 15 percent.
UDOT’s SNAP team is dedicated to encouraging kids to “build the habit of walking and biking to school,” says Cherissa Wood, UDOT SNAP Coordinator. Walking or biking reduces traffic around schools and improves safety. Health benefits are also a good reason to go self-propelled.
The competition is a fun way to encourage kids to walk or bike to school. The excitement over the annual event is catching on – over four times as many students participated this year over last 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 or scooter. Make sure the helmet has a safety certification and fits properly.
• Wear bright clothing, especially when riding a bicycle or scooter, 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 on the SNAP website.
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) Student Neighborhood Access Program (SNAP)™ is a fun and comprehensive program for walking and biking safely to school that engages and educates students, parents, school administrators, crossing guards and communities. As part of the federal Safe Routes to School program administered by UDOT, SNAP focuses on student safety as its first priority. SNAP provides free resources, including mapping software, a 35-minute musical assembly and DVD, student activity booklets and teacher lesson plans, to assist in getting more students walking and biking safely to school. More information about SNAP is available at udot.utah.gov/snap or by contacting Utah’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Cherissa Wood, at 801-965-4486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.