Safety is the priority for any Walk or Bike to School Day event. Follow these steps to plan for a safe event by planning a safe route, working with law enforcement, and working with the community. For more information see the specific resources for pedestrian and bicycle safety below.
A law enforcement officer or local traffic engineer could also offer helpful input regarding complex routes.
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 a great opportunity 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.
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.
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.