Friday, October 22, 2010

Encouraging more kids to walk and bike to school

This week members of FABB and some concerned parents met with Supervisor Hudgins to discuss how Fairfax County and the Fairfax school system can be more supportive of kids walking and biking to school. From past experience we know that the benefits of walking and biking to school are rarely if ever mentioned to parents by the school system. The problems associated with driving kids to school, such as increased congestion and air pollution, are also not discussed.

Instead we build kiss-and-ride lots to facilitate this behavior, making traffic at schools worse. According to one teacher who bikes to school, the most dangerous place for him to ride is the immediate area around the school. In one study it's been estimated that around 21-27% of morning traffic is attributed to parents driving their children to school.

There is a misconception that by encouraging kids to use active transportation that the schools will be liable if a student is injured on the way to school. According to 10 Tips for Safe Routes to School Programs and Liability,
A school will not ordinarily be held liable for injuries sustained by children while they are walking or bicycling to school simply because the school encourages children to walk or bike, where injuries occur off school property, and parents have been reminded that the school is not responsible for supervising children who walk or bike to school.
The FCPS Transportation Services FAQ addresses this issue. If there are liability issues, the Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) is one way to address them. Unfortunately Fairfax County, the largest school district in the state, has received approximately $10,000 of the $13 million available for SRTS in Virginia.

Supervisor Hudgins is very supportive of more kids having the option of safely walking or biking to school and of the SRTS program.With her help we hope to provide a briefing on SRTS to the Board of Supervisors and the school board in the near future. We also hope to identify a school in the Hunter Mill District for implementation of a SRTS program. With new CDC report indicating that one in three adults will have diabetes by 2050, isn't it time that we made it possible for kids to get more exercise by the simple act of walking or biking to school?

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Contact FABB via email:

Subscribe to the
FABB e-newsletter

Subscribe to posts:
[Atom 1.0] or [RSS 2.0]

  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

  Transportation choices

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?