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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 5, 2015
Contact:
Chris Hawkins, Community Engagement, Evidence and Partnership Program Manager at (360) 867-2513

Community Celebrates International Walk to School Day October 7
Local Organizations Encourage Drivers and Students to Share the Road Safely

THURSTON COUNTY -Community leaders, families, students, and teachers from elementary and middle schools in three local school districts will participate in International Walk to School Day on October 7th. The global event brings together communities from over 40 countries, including schools from all 50 states, to promote active and healthy lifestyles for kids and families.

Walk to School Day and related Safe Routes to School projects throughout the school year raise awareness of safer routes for students who walk or bike to school. They also emphasize increasing physical activity and pedestrian safety among children and families, while addressing traffic congestion, and concern for the environment.

"It is so important for kids to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day," said Thurston County Commissioner and Board of Health Chairperson, Sandra Romero. "The easier and safer we make it for them to make this part of a daily routine, the more likely it is that they will be active and healthy while they are young, and as they get older. Safe routes to school efforts are a key part of the Thurston Thrives strategy to improve community design to contribute to health."

Everyone plays a role in making our roads safe for walking, bicycling, and riding the school bus. The following tips will help students get to school safely.

Tips for motorists :

  • Observe speed limits, especially in school zones.
  • Stay alert. Talking on a phone, texting, tuning the stereo, and grooming are distracting.
  • Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists at crossings.
  • All passengers should wear a seat belt or be in a child safety seat.


Tips for parents whose students walk or bike:

  • Accompany students 10 years old or younger.
  • Regularly remind students about traffic safety and model these safe behaviors for them.
  • Make sure kids follow a regular route to and from school. </ul?



    Tips for Students:

    • Wear bright-colored or reflective clothing and use a light when it's dark.
    • Always look left-right-left and make eye contact with drivers before crossing a street.
    • Walk, don't run across the street.
    • Obey school crossing guards.
    • When possible, walk facing traffic if sidewalks are not available.
    • People on bikes should wear a helmet and ride in the same direction as traffic.
    • Obey the rules of the road including stop signs and traffic signals.
    • Report anything that seems unsafe, to a teacher or parent.


    Safe Routes to School project partners include Thurston County, Intercity Transit, Safe Kids Thurston County, Thurston Regional Planning Council, local school districts (North Thurston, Olympia, and Tumwater), and other local governments. Parents can check with their child's school to find out about planned Safe Routes to School activities.

    For more information about local Walk to School Day events and Safe Routes to School activities in Thurston County, contact Chris Hawkins, Thurston County Public Health & Social Services at (360) 867-2513 or hawkinc@co.thurston.wa.us or Donna Feliciano, at (360) 705-5891 or dfeliciano@intercitytransit.com.



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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3