Experts: Walking to School Becoming a Dying Trend - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Experts: Walking to School Becoming a Dying Trend

Posted: Updated:
CLARKSBURG -

The number of kids who are walking to school has been decreasing for years, according to experts.

But Surin Vilain's kids, Corinne and Sydney, are getting to school just like he did.  

"I grew up about four blocks the other direction on the same street. We walked all the way through junior high until high school. Our junior high is now her grade school," Vilain said.

According to SafeRoutesInfo.org, only 13 percent of kids in 2009 walked or biked to school. In 1969, nearly half of school-aged children walked or biked. Vilain believes the decline has a little bit to do with parents being extra cautious.

"Society today is not what it used to be," Vilain said.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, only two percent of reported missing children in 2002 were non-family member abductions.

But chances like that scare some parents away from the idea of letting their child walk.

That's why Vilain walks with Sydney and Corinne and has been educating them about strangers since they could understand.

"Stay away from strangers," said Sydney Vilain, a fourth grader.

Accidents are another fear of parents. According to SafeRoutesInfo.org, in 2010 nearly 300 children were killed while walking or biking, 23,000 were injured. But 1,200 were killed in a car, and more than 170,000 injured.

Vilain said it's an opportunity for exercise and teaches Sydney and Corinne that a set of wheels isn't the only way to get from point A to point B.

"Every little bit counts as far as exercise is concerned. They sit in school, the sit and do homework, they sit and watch TV," said Sydney Vilain.

He said it is also a chance to spend father-daughter-daughter time.

"We get to talk on the way to school. We get to talk about what's coming up, what happened the day before. It helps us connect with the kids a little bit more," said Sydney Vilain.

"Fun is in the journey," said Sydney Vilain.

Sydney said she plans on having her kids follow in her footsteps and the footsteps of her dad.

"So they are not lazy and they exercise a lot," Sydney Vilain said.