We recently added bike racks. We also have crossing guards and have worked with the city to increase signage, a signal, and enhanced enforcement.
– Event organizer, Nebraska
For most communities, a one-day event is not enough. Parents, children, teachers and elected officials all see the promise of healthier, happier students; quieter, cleaner and safer streets; and more connected neighborhoods. In the end, walk and bike to school events are about changing community culture. In the process, they build an environment that's more inviting for every walker and bicyclist, young or old.
Some events are already a strategic part of long-term efforts to promote safe walking and bicycling every day, called Safe Routes to School programs. If you’re looking to transition to ongoing activities, you’re in good company: more than half of walk and bike to school events are part of larger efforts toward walking and bicycling to school. A few ideas are presented here to give a sense of the range of options, but much more information is available at the National Center for Safe Routes to School.
Now that the big day has passed, there are many questions to consider, such as:
- How do you keep the momentum going?
- Are routes to school walkable and bikeable, with the primary challenge being to keep families using these modes on a regular basis?
- Did the event bring to light any areas where there aren’t safe places to walk and bicycle?
- Are there any issues that need to be addressed before it’s right to encourage daily walking and bicycling to school?
Walking school buses, bicycle trains, bicycle skills clinics, and mileage tracking are all ways to keep families excited about walking and bicycling to school. Browse the Safe Routes to School Guide for even more ideas.
Safety skills, awareness and infrastructure
Instructing children and giving them a chance to practice pedestrian and bicyclist skills are important parts of fostering habits that will last a lifetime. Learn more about how to conduct a bicycle skills clinic (also called a bike rodeo) and pedestrian and bicyclist safety education programs. Teaching children about the environmental benefits of their travel choices can be a powerful motivator, too.
If the barriers to walking and bicycling relate to safety, then this is the perfect time to start addressing them. If speeding or other driver behavior is a concern, take a look at how driver education and enforcement can play a role in making improvements. If there are no safe places for students to walk or cross, read more about engineering treatments and crossing guards.
Whether taking the next step feels daunting, or the community is ready to take hold and get going, browse Steps to Creating a Safe Routes to School program for ideas on how to move forward.
Parents enjoyed it so much we have implemented the program monthly. We call it Walk to School Wednesday and it takes place the first Wednesday of each month.
– Event organizer, Florida
Walking school buses are a great way to offer children a supervised walk to school on a regular basis.
Bicycle trains allow students to bicycle to school together on a designated route under supervision.
Browse ideas for classroom projects and curricula.
Having students complete mile logs is a great incentive for walking and bicycling to school regularly.