Hike It! Bike It! I Like It! Walk to School 2011

Walk to School LogoIt’s a special day when communities and schools, parents, kids, and teachers make that extra effort to find an alternate safe way to get to school other than riding on a bus or in a car. Meg McFarland, Walking School Bus Committee Chair, at Briarcliff Elementary in the North Kansas City Missouri School District, organized and created a “human school bus” to help celebrate International Walk to School Day on October 5, 2011. Briarcliff students, staff, parents, the North Kansas City High School Hornet Marching Band, Varsity Cheerleaders and Henry the Hornet along with invited guests and the surrounding community met at a designated area and walked, wheeled and rolled together to recognize the healthy benefits of exercise.

Group PhotoMore than 250,000 children across the United States and nearly three million around the world participated in the annual event.

“Walking and bicycling to school enhances the health of kids, improves air quality and the environment, cuts down on traffic congestion and fuel costs, and is fun,” remarked McFarland.  She explained that every Friday in fall and spring more than 30 students participate in the Walking School Bus—a fixed-route walking schedule that allows many adults to supervise kids on their walk to school. “The families, the community, and the environment all benefit,” she said. This initiative also supports the President’s Challenge and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign by helping to solve the problem of obesity within a generation, as well as ED’s new Green Ribbon Schools competition.

Through the 2005 passage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, Congress authorized $612 million toward developing the National Safe Routes to School Program, and money is distributed to states to fund education, planning and implementation of Safe Routes to School plans and programs.

Creating a special day for our children to walk or bike to school helps communities figure out ways to overcome their reliance on cars and buses. Briarcliff Elementary and thousands of schools across the country are encouraging healthy lifestyles by putting regular physical activity back into daily routines and promoting healthy eating habits — habits that have proven to produce happier students and higher grades.

Jeanne Ackerson

Jeanne works in ED’s Kansas City, Mo., regional office.


  1. These are excellent programs and in my opinion, getting them started on cycling is the best thing. Not only does it promote fitness, but it also is the beginning to a change of culture in our country to make bikes more acceptable. Over seas, bikes are used much more as a means of transportation and that has not taken effect quite the same in the US. Get the kids started early, and that will eventually change.

  2. I think its great for kids to be able walk or ride to school. However today we have so many dangers for children that were never even thought about 20 years ago. Its sad as kids used to be able to be out and about, without the dangers today.

  3. This annual walk is such a great idea, I wish we had it in our city as well.
    Thanks for sharing! It’s greatly appreciated!

  4. Good job on this. It’s a means of doing workout without thinking about it. A good way to reduce obesity and other physical fitness related problems. Incorporating physical activities in daily routine. With keen advantages such as improving health, cuts down fuel costs, and is fun, as written here.

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