Safe Routes to Schools

The mission of Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) is to increase the number of children walking and biking to school. According to SR2S, walking or biking to school gives children a taste of freedom and responsibility, allows them to enjoy the fresh air, and gives them the opportunity to get to know their neighborhood. They arrive at school alert, refreshed, and ready to start their day. In 1969, 50% of all children walked to school. Today, only 15% of America's children walk or bike to school. SR2S aims to promote walking or biking to school by integrating health, fitness, traffic relief, environmental awareness, and safety all under one program. Learn more about Safe Routes to Schools.

Now that our local kids are back in school, SR2S is reminding parents and students of the benefits of walking and biking to school. SR2S encourages walking or biking to school for those that live within 1 or 2 miles from school. In addition to a reduction in traffic and GHG emissions, studies indicate that students who walk and roll to school perform better in school. Physical activity creates higher academic achievement, better cognitive performance, better reading fluency, and improve executive functioning.

If you wish to participate in this initiative, consider the safety tips listed below. 

Walking Safety Tips

  • Dress to be Seen - Wear bright colored clothing or reflective gear if it is dark. Bright colors are more visible during the day and light colors are more visible in the evening and night.
  • Cross at Corners or at a Marked Crosswalk - This is where drivers expect you. Look left, right, then left again before crossing the street. At a four-way intersection, look over your shoulder for cars that may be turning.
  • Use Crossing Signals Carefully - Stop at the curb or edge of the street. Push the button and wait for the walk signal, look left, right, left behind you and in front of you for traffic. Wait until no car is coming before crossing.
  • Use Sidewalks When Available - Walk facing oncoming traffic if there is no sidewalk. 
  • Listen for Oncoming Cars - Listen for oncoming cars that may be behind a parked car, tree, or other obstacle. 
  • Use Eye Contact - Use eye contact and hand signals to communicate before crossing. Don't assume drivers see you.
  • Walk with Others - Walk with an adult, other students, or a buddy.
  • Follow Directions - Follow directions from crossing guards and safety patrols. 
  • Download a flyer with these tips to share with friends.

Biking Safety Tips

  • Wear Your Helmet - Protect your brain and wear a helmet. It's the law. Make sure your helmet fits snugly and is firmly buckled under your chin.
  • Be Predictable - Do what drivers expect you to do. Use hand signals and yield to pedestrians. Ride single file to allow faster traffic to pass. Pass slower traffic on the left, ringing a bell. Ride in a straight line (don't swerve) three feet away from parked cars (door zone). Look and listen to what is around you.
  • Be Visible - Wear bright-colored clothing so you are easier to see. Wear something reflective if riding at night and make sure your bike has working lights and reflectors.
  • Follow the Rules - Ride on the right, in the direction of traffic. Obey all road signs and traffic signals as if you were a car. When you come to a driveway or intersection, you should STOP, then look LEFT, look RIGHT, then look LEFT again to make sure no cars are coming. Only proceed when you know it's safe. WALK your bike in a crosswalk.
  • Riding on Sidewalks - Sidewalk laws are made by local governments, so check with your town to see if it's allowed. If it's permitted, make sure you ride safely and are careful of people walking. Decide as a family or group if you will ride on the street or on the sidewalk. 
  • Lock Your Bike - When you get to school, lock your bike to a bike rack on school grounds. Lock both your front wheel and the bike frame to the rack. 
  • Discuss Your Ride with Your Parents or Guardians.
  • If you are not comfortable with a traffic situation, you can always get off your bike and walk with it on the sidewalk.
  • Download a flyer with these tips to share with friends.