Apopka Focuses on Safety for Walk to School Day

The City of Apopka is joining with local schools to celebrate Walk to School Day on Oct. 7.

The international event – held each year at thousands of public and private schools in several countries – promotes walkable communities as well as safety and health benefits for students who walk to school. More than 3,700 schools are registered to participate in the United States including Apopka and Rock Springs elementary schools.

Local students will join with school staff and City of Apopka representatives to highlight their morning walk from home to school next Wednesday. The students will receive fun and educational materials.

BAM-B Enterprises, which operates McDonald’s restaurants on Main Street and Rock Springs Road in Apopka, is donating healthy snacks and drinks for Rock Springs Elementary. Other sponsors for the Rock Springs event include the Florida Department of Transportation, Waste Management and the Rock Springs Elementary PTA.

“Hundreds of Apopka children walk to and from school every day, and so it is vital for all of us – parents, students and our fellow motorists – to keep safety foremost in mind,” Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer said. “Adults have to remember that kids are kids, and if we are driving when students are walking to school, we have to slow down and be extra cautious.”

While walking to school is a necessity for many students, the weekday activity also provides good exercise. It helps the environment by reducing vehicle trips, and relieves traffic on local roads.

Walk to School Day also promotes the safety of pedestrians. Rock Springs physical education teachers Alex Roach and Karyn Densberger have conducted interactive lessons on pedestrian safety to help students understand intersections, crosswalks, corners, traffic signals, and left/right directions. Students practiced safe walk simulations.

Pedestrian injuries are common in Central Florida. Orlando is the most dangerous place for pedestrians across the country, according to a 2014 report from Smart Growth America. A total of 37 pedestrians were killed and 500 were injured over a four year period from 2010 to 2013.

Follow these rules for crossing the street:
1. Stop at the curb/edge of the street.
2. Look left-right-left and listen for cars.
3. Cross when no cars are coming.
4. If there is a stationary visual screen – such as a car or bush or bush – walk to the edge of the screen and stop (i.e. edge of object that is closest to the traffic). Look left-right-left until it is safe to cross.

Safe places to walk:
1. Always cross at the crosswalk or corner, never mid-street.
2. Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left edge of the road so drivers can see you.

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