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Get to Class the Old-Fashioned Way

The Walk to School campaign encourages kids to travel on foot or by bike to campus.

“Walk-tober” is International Walk to School Month. This October global campaign’s goal is for students to get to class without getting in a car.

The Walk to School initiative started in the United Kingdom in the late 1990s and takes place in more than 40 countries. The Beverly Hills Unified School District joined the campaign in 2007 with support from the PTAs. City schools are encouraging participation, but many kids are already on board.

“On any given day, you’ll see 30 to 35 bikes and scooters,” Horace Mann PTA President Howard Goldstein said. “Most of our community walks to school—about 85 percent—based on the small number of vehicles dropping off on any given day.”

Beverly Vista crossing guard Dean Hobbs said he has noticed that more and more students are walking and biking to school these days.

“Getting exercise is one of the best reasons to walk,” Hobbs said. “Just leave a few minutes early so you’re not late.”

BHUSD Superintendent Dr. Gary Woods is an avid cyclist and sets a healthy, car-free example by biking instead of driving.

“My bike is becoming a fixture of my Friday visits,” Woods said. “Kids see me riding and ask me about it.”

But the district doesn’t stop supporting eco-friendly trips to school when October is finished. During the academic year it promotes Walk to School Wednesdays, which coincide with the district’s late-start days. 

What’s the cost of getting kids to walk? Nada. Walking keeps your kids active and is a healthy way to fight childhood obesity (and yours too, when you walk along). It reduces traffic, saves gas and is good for the environment. Walking is eco-smart and takes everybody in the right direction.

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Ellen Lutwak October 09, 2011 at 04:31 AM
Hope to see some Beverly Hills friends at Ciclavia downtown tomorrow Sunday. 10 miles of streets closed off to cars - for walking, cycling, and playing in the street.
frances bilak October 10, 2011 at 08:51 AM
I, for one, am thrilled that my son rides his bike to school most days. The unfortunate thing however, is that our schools do not have proper bike paths established for our children that encourages them to ride safely to school, and then when they get to school, they don't have an appropriate place to secure their bikes. But cycling? What a great way to get to school!
Mark Elliot October 26, 2011 at 07:14 PM
I can't agree more: without streets that are safe for cycling, getting parents to embrace the bike as a timeless means of getting kids to school will be a challenge. Unlike other cities, Beverly Hills has taken no steps at all to use bike lanes, signage, or any other improvements to make that trip more safe. Yet we see cities all around us making great leaps in this regard. It's not for not trying. Better Bike is an organization that has prodded and embarrassed the city over the past year-and-a-half to do something - anything - about bike safety, and we're still waiting. Read more: http://betterbike.org Kudos to Frances for getting her kids to school on a bike. We need more parents like her. But without any support from the city, it will remain a challenge indeed.
Ellen Lutwak July 25, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Become a community leader for your school's Walk to School program. Parents, kids, friends and neighbors: if you're already walking or riding to school, you are a great example! Remind your PTA and principals to Walk on Wednesdays. Get in touch with me to get involved with the state program. Funding and grants available!
Ellen Lutwak September 07, 2012 at 04:06 AM
October 3, 2012 is Walk to School Day as part of the international Walk and Ride to School Month. Parents and kids: who's walking?
Ellen Lutwak October 02, 2012 at 03:28 PM
It's October and International Walk/Bike to School Month! Tomorrow is International Walk/Bike to School Day.

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