HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- PennDOT today announced that schools and communities across Pennsylvania will highlight walking and bicycle safety by participating in Walk or Roll to School Day on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
"PennDOT believes in safe travel for all transportation modes and age groups," PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. "Celebrating walking and bicycling safely is a great way to establish safe habits in our youth, increasing their safety and fostering future generations of safe travelers."
As part of the celebration, schools will host educational events and will take part in group walks with school and community officials, crossing guards and police.
Pennsylvania's event is part of International Walk to School Day, which celebrates walking and bicycling while building community awareness of the advantages of walkable communities. The day is in its 16th year in the United States. October is also recognized as International Walk to School Month.
To exercise safety year-round, parents should remind students to walk on the sidewalk, or if there is no sidewalk, to walk on the side of the road facing traffic. Students should only cross streets at corners or marked crosswalks and look left, right and then left again before stepping into the street. Also, children should always wear bright-colored clothes and carry flashlights if it is dark or hard to see.
Bicyclists should also ride along the right side of the road with traffic and signal their intentions in advance. Bicycle riders must obey all traffic signs and signals, and riders should look left, right and then left again before entering an intersection.
Children under the age of 12 are required by law to wear a properly fitting helmet.
If possible, children should develop a buddy system for walking or bicycling to school. For safety reasons, they should avoid shortcuts that include alleys or unfamiliar areas.
Students are also advised to be alert at all times and avoid distractions such as cell phones or headphones.
PennDOT uses the federal Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) program to help schools and communities improve safety and promote walking and bicycling. Over the past five years, 49 schools have received more than $250,000 for educational activities and aids such as walking programs, classroom curriculum materials, crossing guard supplies or training, and assemblies focused on bicycle safety.
In addition, PennDOT has awarded more than $18 million in federal funds to schools and municipalities for 34 infrastructure projects near elementary and middle schools. Project examples include sidewalk and curb improvements, updated signage or signals, and crosswalk or bike rack installations.
For more information on Walk or Roll to School Day or the Safe Routes to School program, visit PennDOT's SRTS Resource Center website at www.SafeRoutesPA.org.
For information on pedestrian and bicycle safety, including bicycle educational videos, visit the "Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety" information center at www.JustDrivePA.com.
Media contact: Erin Waters, 717-783-8800
Editor's Note: Following is a list of schools that have registered Walk or Roll to School Day events with the Safe Routes to School program:
- Bradford Woods Elementary School, North Allegheny School District
- Richland Elementary School, Pine-Richland School District
- Birdsboro Elementary School, Daniel Boone Area School District
- Cornwall Terrace Elementary School, Wilson School District
- Owatin Creek Elementary School, Exeter Township School District
Bradford County: Towanda Area School District
Bucks County: Doyle Elementary School, Greenville Area School District
Cambria County: Johnstown Middle School, Greater Johnstown School District
Centre County: Corl Street Elementary and Park Forest Middle schools, State College Area School District
- Eisenhower Elementary and Hoover Elementary schools, Camp Hill School District
- Mooreland Elementary School, Carlisle Area School District
- Northside Elementary School, Mechanicsburg Area School District
- Mountain View Elementary and Paxtang Elementary schools, Central Dauphin School District
- Hershey Middle School, Derry Township School District
Delaware County: Highland Park Elementary School, Upper Darby School District
Huntingdon County: Juniata Valley High School, Juniata Valley School District
Jefferson County: Brookville Area School District
Lackawanna County: Valley View High School, Valley View School District
Luzerne County: Tenth Street Elementary School, Wyoming Area School District
- Belmont Elementary School, Lower Merion School District
- Conshohocken Elementary School, Colonial School District
- Eagleville Elementary and Woodland Elementary schools, Methacton School District
- General Nash Elementary and North Wales Elementary schools, North Penn School District
- Rupert Elementary School, Pottstown School District
Northumberland County: Montandon Elementary and White Deer Elementary schools, Milton Area School District
Philadelphia County: Abram S. Jenks; Edwin Stanton; Francis Willard; George Childs; George Nebinger Elementary; Jackson; John Taggert; Ludlow Elementary; Meredith Elementary; and Spring Garden schools, Philadelphia City School District
Venango County: Central Elementary and Seventh Street Elementary schools, Franklin Area School District
Westmoreland County: Hahnton Elementary School, Norwin School District
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Transportation