Organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America, Walk to School Day in the USA began in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities. In 2000, the event became international when the UK and Canada (both of which had already been promoting walking to school) and the USA joined together for the first International Walk to School Day. Growing interest in participation all over the world led the International Walk to School Committee to shifts its promotion to International Walk to School Month for the entire month of October.
In the USA and Canada, International Walk to School Day galvanizes visibility for walking and bicycling to school. Over time, this event has been part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America and in more than 40 countries worldwide celebrate walking to school every October.
The success of Walk to School Day, as well as continued interest in bicycling to school, created a desire for a national event focused on bicycling to school. This goal became reality in 2012, when the first National Bike to School Day took place on May 9, in coordination with the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Month.
Although Walk to School Day is focused more on walking and Bike to School Day is focused more on bicycling, both days welcome and encourage all forms of active transportation to school.
Quick Facts and Figures: The History of Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day