Hudson -- Students rode bicycles and scooters, wore roller blades or simply walked to school Oct. 10 to celebrate the sixth Safe Routes Hudson and Hudson City Schools Walk/Bike to School Day.

Coordinator Brenda Divine reported that 393 students (K-8) participated on a sunny but cool morning.

The first group of bikers and walkers included 107 middle school students in grades 6 through 8, she said.

"Last October, there were only 21 [middle school] students who came out for the event," Divine said.

The increase shows the program is gaining momentum, she said. The middle school students started participating in a younger grade and are now participating at a higher level.

"It was a great turnout," Divine said.

Dave Zuro, president of Hudson Board of Education, was one of the volunteers passing out Clif Fruit Ropes, free Dairy Queen cone coupons, new Safe Routes to School maps and reminding students to fill out raffle slips for a chance to win a colored MOVband.

Police officer Brian Battaglia was on his bike making sure all walkers/bikers arrived at school safely, Divine said.

One middle school student rode her bike to school for the first time, Battaglia told her. He met up with her and they rode in together.

Battaglia and officer Tyson Dinda continued their safety patrol on bike and headed to East Woods where fourth- and fifth-graders attend school. Lt. Sean McAleese also was on the scene. Dr. Brian Milcetich, East Woods principal, laced up his sneakers and walked to school as well.

Bicycle racks at East Woods were overflowing, and three Safe Route Hudson volunteers along with Council member Alex Kelemen handed out giveaways to 156 students who decided to walk or bike.

"We even had one student roller blade to school," Divine said.

Jenny Graham and Becky Hinkle, Safe Routes Hudson parent volunteers, said it was quite a sight to see a long line of parents and school children riding down North Hayden Parkway.

There was a challenge for walkers and bikers, Divine reported. Many parents who rode bikes with their children had difficulty crossing at Hudson-Aurora Road from Hudson Park Estates. Cars did not yield to the walkers and bikers.

"This is now on Safe Routes Hudson's radar, and we need to look for a solution and educate drivers and students to be safer," Divine said. "Another busy crossing is at state Route 303 and North Hayden," she added.

Kris Stoehr, Safe Routes Hudson parent volunteer, said 36 second-grade walkers and bikers joined in the fun at Ellsworth Hill and 56 third-graders participated at McDowell.

Divine checked out all five schools riding her dad's classic Schwinn Typhoon bike.

"It was a lot of fun and more comfortable than a modern bike," Divine said.

Evamere was her last stop where she met up with a young student who rode a scooter all the way to school. There were 38 kindergarten and first-grade students who participated.

"Overall it was a fantastic Walk/Bike to School day," Divine said.

The next bike or walk day will be in May 2014, Divine said.

For more information go to www.saferouteshudson.org

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