Drivers are encouraged to be extra alert this week as elementary and middle school students throughout Riverside County will opt on Wednesday to walk instead of ride to school in recognition of "International Walk to School Day."
It's expected that thousands of students across the county will take part in the annual walk designed to promote youth exercise, including children from Ysabel Barnett Elementary in Temecula.
During the walk, parents and community-based volunteers will form "walking school buses" to shepherd children to their schools, according to the Riverside County Department of Public Health, one of the agencies organizing the outing.
In some locations, public safety personnel will provide escorts, and safety mascots, such as the Riverside Police Department's "Buckle Bear," will provide sidewalk entertainment.
Organizers said walking programs promote reduced childhood obesity and highlight the importance of pedestrian access and safety.