Students Across Novato Walk, Roll to School

Local students participated in International Walk and Roll to School Day on Wednesday. It had a special meaning in Novato.

Students from throughout Marin County participated in International Walk and Roll to School Day on Wednesday morning, but there was added meaning to the effort Novato.

The city is still aching — and will for a while — over the loss of a 12-year-old girl who was killed while riding her bike home from school on Sept. 27. There are many questions that remain unanswered about the incident that took the life of Hailey Ratliff just a few hundred yards from her home in a western Novato neighborhood, but Safe Routes to School 

Wendy Kallins, program director for Safe Routes to School in Marin, told the Marin Independent Journal that the accident means "we have to be even more dedicated to safety and remind children and parents to take safety precautions. It also means drivers need to slow down."

In the San Marin neighborhood, dozens of students, parents, teachers, firefighters and police gathered on San Andreas Drive and walked the "secret" paths to school. Alice Dow, a mom and volunteer, said it was the seventh consecutive year the group gathered at her home before heading to school.

"The crowd gets bigger every year and the kids absolutely love it," she said. "We appreciate the teachers who come and walk with us, as well as our local firefighters and police. Everyone is smiling ... all is good!"

Down at Hamilton, Genny Boyd sent in photos and said smiling faces were  greeted at school with free Clif bars provided by Whole Foods plus Safe Routes magnets. 

If you took shots of kids walking or riding to school Wednesday, feel free to upload them here or e-mail them to brent.ainsworth@patch.com.

Scott Warner October 03, 2012 at 04:04 PM
A beautiful warm perfect day for Bike to School Day! I joined my daughter and two of her friends to bike nearly 5 miles to San Jose Middle School. Of course this wouldn't have been complete without an early morning stop at Donut Works (they were looking forward to it all week!). I learned even more about kids biking to school by joining them this morning and I encourage parents, regardless of the age of your child, to join them once in a while if your schedule allows. Some observations: 1. Bike lanes through Novato are well established, but are incomplete in a few very important areas including on the lower half of Sunset Parkway where there is a very busy mix of cars, bikes, and pedestrians during the morning work/school commute time. 2. I completely understand why Middle School and Elementary School aged kids are more comfortable riding on the sidewalk in high traffic areas - they feel safer. While we can teach safe riding skills to our kids including how to ride safely with traffic, too many drivers generally do not seem to be patient with kids on bikes, or anyone on bikes. I saw less than 30% of the drivers using turn signals, and less than 50% of drivers coming to full stops at stop signs. I even saw one driver pass another driver on a 2 lane road this morning. 3. Riding a bike to school means getting up on time! This teaches responsibility and also has the benefit of exercise and developing a great attitude for the morning! Happy Pedaling!
Brent Ainsworth October 03, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Special thanks to those who sent in so many great shots.
Michael Christian October 04, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Thanks to all the parents and students who made this years bike and walk to school day so successful! Being able to bike or walk to school with friends and neighbors is a special privilege in a community and a great way to be green!.. Roll on! Loma Verde Bears!


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