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Students at Dilworth Elementary in Salt Lake City helped kick off a statewide drive Wednesday to encourage more students to walk and bike safely to school this year —┬áby holding a rally with state highway officials, and signing pledges for safety.

"Walking or biking to school at the start of the school year is a great way for students to develop and continue safe and healthy habits," said Carlos Braceras, executive director of the Utah Department of Transportation. "Students who walk or bike to school not only stay active and perform better at school, but also reduce traffic congestion around schools, making these areas safer."

The state is conducting what it calls the "Walk More in Four" challenge. Students can win prizes including bikes, scooters and helmets by following through on pledges to walk or bike to school at least three days a week during September.

Parents may go to to assist their students in registering for the challenge and marking their progress throughout the month.

The school with the highest percentage of students participating will win $500 to be used by its safety committee, along with the Golden Tennis Shoe, a traveling trophy.

— Lee Davidson

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