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Students encouraged to use 'pedal power'

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The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) encourages students to bike to school on Wednesday, which has been declared National Bike to School Day.

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“More than 60 Wisconsin schools are organizing events to promote biking as a healthy mode of transportation – close to a 30 percent increase over last year,” said Tressie Kamp, multimodal program coordinator at WisDOT. “These events help put the spotlight on bicycling as not only a fun recreational activity, but also a practical way to get from one place to another, in this case, from home to school.”

National Bike to School Day also puts bike safety in the spotlight. In Wisconsin, five through 14-year-olds make up approximately 15 percent of the total population; however, the age group accounts for more than half of all bicycle-related injuries each year.

“It is worth noting that WisDOT has a safety website (www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/kids/index.htm) designed just for kids,” Kamp added. “The site includes a section on bicycling, and we encourage kids and their parents to check it out.”

This marks the third year of National Bike to School Day, which is sponsored by the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs encourage children in grades kindergarten through eight to walk and bike to school by creating safer walking and biking routes. These programs improve walking and biking travel options, promote healthier lifestyles in children and decrease auto-related emissions near schools.

More information on National Bike to School Day can be found at the National Center for Safe Routes to Schools website: http://walkbiketoschool.org/.

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