In most communities, school-related traffic accounts for about 20% of morning peak hour traffic. This can be greatly reduced if parents and students walked or bike to school, rather than drove their cars. Walking and biking to school can be the healthiest ways to travel to school since your child is getting their daily exercise in and they don't even know it! Like adults, kids need exercise... at least one hour of physical activity every day. Regular exercise helps children:
- Feel less stressed
- Feel better about themselves
- Feel more ready to learn in school
- Keep a healthy weight
- Build and keep healthy bones, muscles and joints
- Sleep better at night
Walk and Bike to School Days
These annual events promote pedestrian and bicycle safety and help improve air quality and community involvement. Walk to School Week is generally held at all elementary schools in the month of October. Events encourage students and families to walk to school and are greeted with morning refreshments beginning 30 minutes prior to the first bell at each school.
Walking Safety Tips
- Encourage your child to help choose the safest place to cross the road.
- Practice stopping at the curb, looking left, right, left, listening for traffic and making eye contact with drivers.
- Find all the traffic signs and roadway markings on your route.
- Talk about what these words and symbols mean.
- Talk about ways your child can avoid or minimize dangers along the route, i.e., driveways, parked cars, strangers, etc.
- Observe people walking, cycling, driving or riding cars.
- Talk about the safe and the risky things you see.
- Talk with your child about the buildings, people, animals, landscaping, etc. on your walk.
- Discuss the ways your walking trips benefit your health, safety and quality of life.
Biking Safety Tips
- Make sure your student’s bike is in good condition before riding. Look over the bike, especially for properly inflated tires, to make sure everything is set for their ride to school.
- Always wear a bike helmet AND make sure it fits properly. A helmet should fit snug and always snap the straps.
- Be aware of traffic. Stop. Look left, right and left again before leaving a sidewalk or driveway.
- Enter traffic only when the road is clear.
- Stop at all intersections, marked or unmarked to make sure a car is not approaching.
- Obey the “Rules of the Road” and use hand signals before turning.
- Ride with traffic, never against it. Children may ride on the sidewalks but be on alert for pedestrians and cars backing out of or entering driveways.
- Use hand signals when you stop or make a turn.
- Concentrate – stay in control.
- Stay to the right. Ride single file as far to the right side of the road as possible.
- Prevent bicycle thefts. Carry a lock and use it.