Safety First

Safety is the priority for any Walk or Bike to School Day event. Follow these steps to plan for a safe event by planning the best route and working with the community. For more information see the specific resources for pedestrian and bicycle safety below.

Including Safety in the Event

Find the safest route to school by looking for:

Working with a town or city transportation department

A local traffic engineer or public works official could also offer helpful input regarding complex routes.

Working with law enforcement

While law enforcement officers have been involved in many Walk to School Day events in the past, individual communities and schools need to understand their families’ preferences in having law enforcement present for an event.  For some community members, negative experiences with law enforcement mean that they may not feel comfortable with any level of law enforcement involvement.  For others, law enforcement involvement in Walk to School Day can help build trust and open dialogue. 

Working with the school and the community

Before the event, talk to the principal and other members of the planning team to identify potential issues and how to address them. Potential safety concerns that may be mentioned include:

These issues don’t have to be event-stoppers, but they will certainly influence the event’s structure. Whether the concerns are real or perceived, they should be addressed so that students, families and leaders feel comfortable. Often, events are used to prompt bigger conversations about how to address any barriers that get in the way of children walking and bicycling to school safely on a regular basis.  If routes are missing sidewalks or if there’s a park that would make a great connector to a nearby neighborhood but it doesn’t feel safe, there’s a two-fold approach: 1. Make a plan for the event. 2. Use the event to bring attention to safety concerns that need to be addressed so that students can walk on a regular basis.

Pedestrian Safety

Students need to know pedestrian safety skills.  Information in the resources below can be taught in the classroom or sent home with students to practice skills with their families. Ideally they get several opportunities to practice what they learn with adults who can provide feedback and supervision.


Bike Safety

Teaching students safe biking skills is a key part of starting a bicycling program. The information in the resources below can be taught at school, or sent home with students to practice skills with their families. Ideally students get chances to hear and practice the information several times with adults who can provide feedback and supervision.

Bicycle Safety Resources