LAYTON – Davis County students who walk or bike to school had a chance at earning bikes, scooters, helmets and other prizes by participating in the Utah Department of Transportation’s Walk More in Four challenge.
Only 15 percent of students walk or bike to school nationwide, according to a press release. That’s a significant drop since 1969, when approximately 50 percent of students got to school on their own power.
UDOT has been working to increase the number of students who walk or bike, awarding prizes donated by local businesses to those who consistently make their own way to school. More than 500 students throughout Utah earned the prizes, including eight Davis County students.
Roads around schools are safer and students are more healthy if fewer cars are shuttling kids around, according to information provided.
A number of safety recommendations were listed by UDOT that, if followed, would make it possible for students to walk or bike to school even in winter.
Students are encouraged to follow the safest route to school using Student Neighborhood Access Program (SNAP) maps provided at each school. They should wear bright clothing or reflective gear, wear shoes with non-skid soles and gloves, so that hands can be free rather than tucked in pockets.
Where possible, students should walk on sidewalks. If it’s necessary to walk in the street, they should walk against the flow of traffic and as close to the curb as possible.
Students should cross only at crosswalks, according to UDOT, and look left, then right, then left again before crossing, making sure approaching vehicles have come to a complete stop. They should also obey directions from crossing guards and walk bikes and scooters across crosswalks. Other safety precautions are to walk with a buddy or a group, always wear a properly fitting, safe helmet, and never walk or ride with headphones.
“We commend these exemplary students for starting the school year off on the right foot by walking safely to school and for setting a good example for their peers statewide,” said Robert Hull, UDOT Director of Traffic and Safety in a statement.