Safe Routes to School

Walking and Biking to school is a great form of exercise and a wonderful way for our children to learn safety skills that will help them throughout their lives. Be sure to make safety a priority and you and your children will be able to enjoy the benefits of walking and biking for many years to come.

Did you know?
  • Only about 12% of children currently walk to school vs. 40% in 1969. (American Journal of Preventative Medicine)
  • About 16% of children 6-11 years of age are currently overweight vs. 4% in 1963-70. (National Center for Health)
  • Higher Middle and High School student pedestrian accident rates have been associated with children who have not been taught pedestrian safety early.
  • Speeding is a major contributing factor in accident severity. (PedSafe, FHWA)
  • If you always drive your child to school you contribute to traffic congestion around the school, increasing the risk of crashes involving children, and increasing air pollution around the school.

Realize that walking is good for kids – and good for our community and the environment. The Centers for Disease Control recently described “the lack of exercise as a worrisome trend" as childhood obesity has increased and health problems such as diabetes have risen dramatically along with it. Auto emissions can contribute to poor respiratory health in children as well. If you are within walking distance of your child's school or bus stop, you are encouraged to have your children walk to school.

You are an important part of providing enhanced safety for your child and all children on their way to and from school.  

It is important for you to set rules for your children and practice safe walking habits so they become familiar with what's safe and what's expected from them.

You can help children to become aware of driver behavior, what your child should do to safely walk to school, and how to cross a street.  Awareness, by both drivers and pedestrians, is the best way to avoid accidents.

To BEE SAFE walking to school and crossing a road requires attention, knowing the rules and practice.

  • Always cross at a crosswalk or at a corner. Make sure you cross where you have a good view of traffic and traffic has a good view of you.
  • Check for traffic before stepping into the crosswalk. Do not assume that cars will stop just because you are in the crosswalk. Make eye contact with drivers to be sure you are seen.
  • Do not assume that if one car stops all cars will stop. Use extra caution when crossing multiple lanes of traffic. Pedestrians can be hidden by the first car that stops.
  • Look left then right then left again when crossing the street and listen for traffic. Do not wear headphones or use your phone when crossing the street.
  • Watch out for drivers that are; talking on cell phones, watching other children, pulling around parked cars or turning cars.
  • Pay attention to drivers parked near the crosswalk. Never enter the street between parked cars.
  • If you have to walk on a road without sidewalks, walk on the left facing traffic.
  • Walk and cross streets with other groups of children for better visibility by drivers.
  • When crossing at a signalized intersection, wait for the “WALK “signal to cross the street. Once the flashing hand signal comes on it is no longer safe to start crossing.
  • Children must not ride a bike or scooter, skate or run across the road, this is extremely dangerous.
  • Teach your child that when the weather is bad, drivers can’t stop as fast and visibility is reduced. 
If you must drive your child to or from school, follow these suggestions to minimize traffic hazards:

  • Don’t be a distracted driver. Don’t eat, drink or use your cell phone.
  • Keep your attention focused on the road, not on how late you might be.
  • Obey school area traffic controls and pay attention to the Crossing Guard.
  • Reduce your speed and always watch for kids and parents at the school and on your way to the school.
  • Stop for pedestrians crossing the street. Don’t assume pedestrians see you. Remember younger children can not judge vehicle speed or distance as adults do.
  • Do not double park, do not stop or park in a crosswalk. This blocks visibility for pedestrians and other motorists.
  • Do not load or unload children across the street from the school. This forces kids to cross a congested street.
  • Obey the school traffic circulation rules for pick up and drop off.
  • Carpool with neighbors to reduce the number of cars at the school.
  • If you live far from the school, consider parking at a near by park or trail and walk to the school.