“In 1969, 41 percent of children either walked or biked to school; by 2001, only 13 percent still did, according to data from the National Household Travel Survey.”
(Source: NYT, 9/13/09)

9 Responses to “Factoid of the day: Children chilled”

  1. RudeDude says:

    simple explanation… the news tells us its not safe outside for us OR our children. I used to walk to school but now it is hard to imagine them walking to school without getting hit by a car and stolen by a pedophile.

  2. karen says:

    Another reason why our society is overweight…

  3. Nathaniel Strick says:

    I am a teacher and I see this all too often. However, kids who ride a bike or walk to school… 1.) Experience more autonomy 2.) Are more awake and prepared for school 3.) Have better relationships with the students they ride with 4.) Have a close connection with their community every day 5.) Have a deeper and closer connection with nature 6.) Learn to follow the rules of the road

    Walking and biking is the solution to many of our societies challenges: health problems, oil dependence, stress

  4. Simon Christian Larsen says:

    That sounds surprising and disturbing. I think Nathaniel Strick has some good points.

    In Denmark our bikes are VERY common means of transportation. Almost everybody has a bike. There are many bike paths, and even on roads without bike paths it’s very safe because car-drivers are used to the bikes.

  5. Peggy says:

    I used to walk to school. And when I was in Jr. high and High school, if I missed the bus, mom made me walk.

    Five miles…up a hill…in three feet of snow…while it rained…

    Mom showed no mercy.

    I very rarely missed the bus.

  6. jay says:

    come on now, there are fewer “neighborhood schools” today too….

  7. We’ll be lucky if we stay at 10% in the next 5 years. Something parents and city planners need to work on.

  8. Andrew says:

    This number will continue to decline as long as school systems nationwide value socioeconomic diversity-by-force over maximizing each student’s opportunity to obtain an education. Students in my neighborhood are at bus stops as early as 5:45 AM to catch buses to their assigned schools across town by 8:00AM. I don’t know of too many teachers or administrators that are awake by 5:45AM let alone on their way to the school. Why are the walkers/bikers alert? They likely got an extra hour of sleep AND they benefit from 20-30 minutes of physical activity.

    My own children live close enough to ride bikes (only ~3 miles after we won an appeal with our school system), but lack the protection (sidewalks & crossing guards) to safely navigate the intersections with high-speed roadways.

    Any process is set up to get the results it produces. If there is to be change, those who control the process must desire different results. A student assigned to a school 20 miles away will likely NOT be able to walk or ride a bike daily to school.

  9. David says:

    I think the biggest factor here is single parent households, and households where both parents work.

    After school, where do the kids go? To a babysitter, daycare, or after school program. Generally, elementary schools are in closer proximity to the home, but it is elementary kids that are not able to go home alone.

    I live about a mile away from the local elementary school, and I would love to let my daughter ride her bike. Unfortunately, that would mean picking her up from extended day and having her drive home at 5:30. Or, putting the bike in the trunk every night. If I had a truck that may be reasonable, but not in a car.

    I think working parents are a bigger factor, but coupled with safety concerns it’s an understandable decline.