Grab that highlighter and mark your calendar because two important holidays are on the horizon. No, I’m not referring to St. Patrick’s Day or April Fool’s Day, I’m talking about the even more important Walk to Work Day and Bike to School Day.
The first event is Walk to Work Day, which will be taking place on Friday, April 6th. Commuters will be encouraged to forego their vehicles and instead enjoy some exercise, and hopefully a bit of sun, on their way into the office. Then, on Thursday, April 12th, it will be Bike to School Day, the largest youth bicycling day of the year.
Both events promote not only a healthy and more active lifestyle, but also reducing the reliance on cars as a part of the daily routine. With an estimated 77% of Americans not only driving to work, but driving to work alone, Walk to Work Day also looks to encourage people to reassess their commuting habits by considering other alternatives.
Similarly, with the number of children walking or biking to school having dropped from 50 percent in the late 60s to just 15 percent today, Bike to School Day is attempting to remind families that cycling is a great family activity and an excellent way to stay healthy. Last year more than 2,000 San Franciscans participated in Bike to School Day, including over 35 schools throughout the city. This year, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is hosting free family bike classes in the weeks leading up to the event.
In conjunction with one another, the two events offer a reminder that making sure city streets are safe for pedestrians and cyclists is still a serious concern. Despite being ranked as one of the most walkable cities in America, San Francisco has an unusually high number of pedestrian fatalities. Safety is also one of the most frequently cited concerns from parents when it comes to why they’re not letting their children bike to school.
Fortunately, both programs aim to raise awareness, and advocacy groups like WalkSF and the National Center for Safe Routes to School are doing everything they can to make sure vehicles share the streets with pedestrians and cyclists.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/81325557@N00/2844337771/