Equipped with bicycles, Razor scooters, colorful helmets and comfy walking shoes, students at Brandon Elementary School headed out to class Wednesday morning on foot to celebrate National Walk to School Day.
Youngsters along with their parents, teachers and Goleta community leaders traded car rides for a sunny walk or bike ride to school.
Brandon Elementary held BOWWOW (bike on Wednesday, walk on Wednesday) to motivate children to engage in physical fitness and use alternative transportation.
“The event encourages kids and families to get out of the car and walk, bike, or scooter to school,” said Sara Iza, health and safety co-chair for Brandon Elementary.
BOWWOW boosts students’ health while emphasizing the importance of issues such as environment concern and traffic congestion, Iza said.
This year, 210 Brandon students participated by taking alternative transportation, almost beating the record high of 258 in 2015.
More than 50 percent of children enrolled at the elementary school laced up their shoes and strolled to campus before the school bell rang.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies welcomed participants with stickers and safety tips when they stepped on the campus.
The event creates better routes for bicycling and walking while building connections between schools and the community, said Roberta Hernandez, a Brandon Elementary School special education inclusion aide.
“It’s nice to have support from the community,” Hernandez said. “It’s great to see the kids out, having fun and being safe.”
Schools all over teh county participated in National Walk to School Day Wednesday.
“The day calls national attention to shared roadways,” Santa Barbara Unified School District spokeswoman Barbara Keyani said. “An important benefit is increased student and community safety awareness.”
At Franklin Elementary School, SBPD Officer Adrian Gutierrez greeted neighborhood students at the school’s entrance as they walked and biked to campus from multiple directions, Keyani said.
Organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America in 1997, National Walk to School Day began in the United States as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities, according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School.