Today begins Bike to School Week, a designation Mayor Curtis created with an official declaration. So it’s legit.
The mayor’s post on the event has a useful list of events along with some alarming statistics:
- In 1969, 87% of all school children who lived within a mile of school walked or biked to school, and now only 33% do.
- In the last 40 years, child obesity rates have soared, with 25 million children and adolescents—more than 33%–now overweight.
- The increase in driving has contributed to air pollution, which, because of geography, is particularly bad in Utah County.
- There has been a 74% increase in asthma among kids in the last 25 years.
- Communities that are bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly are not only healthier, but are also more connected and happier.
Additional statistics related to increased driving and childhood health problems are readily available on the internet and in other posts on this blog. The point is that kids are tending to be less active while driving is increasing.
It’s also worth mentioning that the dire situation we’re facing related to air quality, childhood obesity and other problems can be fixed; we just need to provide better transit options that encourage things like biking. This is especially possible in a city like Provo, where many kids live within walking or biking distance of schools.