Students who aren’t accustomed to trekking or peddling to school may be doing just that on Friday as North Shore School District 112 observes Walk and Bike to School Day.
It’s the first year that schools in Highland Park and Highwood are participating in the event, which started as a national walk-to-school day in 1997 and was later expanded to include cycling, according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School.
Originally planned for Oct. 4, the local observance was postponed to Oct. 13 due to inclement weather.
Highland Park’s Bike Walk Advisory Group, which works to promotes alternatives to car travel, asked the school district to participate as part of its education campaign. The group is working toward winning Highland Park designation as a Bike Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists.
Ed Brill, a member of the bike-walk group, said school personnel were receptive to the idea of participating.
“They innately recognize the value of getting kids to bike or walk,” said Brill, the father of a second grader at Red Oak Elementary School.
“It cuts down on congestion in their pick-up lines,” Brill said of the traffic back-ups that occur as parents waiting in vehicles line up to pick up students at the end of the day. “It cuts down on extra car trips, and it could reduce the need for bus service over time.”
Schools participating in the one-day event are Braeside, Indian Trail, Oak Terrace, Wayne Thomas, Red Oak and Sherwood elementary schools, along with Edgewood Middle School.
Jenna Didier, an Edgewood Middle School teacher coordinating the school’s bike-walk observance, said that when the Oct. 4 bike-walk day was canceled, students were disappointed — which she took as a positive sign.
“After the announcement, I walked out in the hallways and heard a lot of students who were upset,” Didier said. “It’s kind of nice to know that a lot of students were excited about it.”