Safe Routes to School

Be Smart, Be Seen
How many students can you easily see in the photo below? A little light makes all of the difference! Flashlights, reflective clothing and adding reflective tape to backpacks will help your child be seen and be safe.  

light Walking to School or Bus Stop

When you follow some safety guidelines and have an established walking route to school, walking can be a great way to get to school, and get some exercise and fresh air, too!

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when walking to school (adapted from this Tips for Walking Safely to School brochure):

Walk Together.  Whether you walk with a parent or caregiver, an older sibling, a friend, or as part of a group of walkers, there is safety in numbers! Walking with a group also makes the walk even more fun.  Younger children should always walk with an adult. When your parents decide you can walk by yourself, make sure to

   Walk with a friend or sibling. 

   Choose a safe walking route with your parents and then walk the same route every day.

   Don’t push, shove, or chase people near the street.

   Never take rides from people not arranged by your parent or caregiver.

   Talk to your parent, caregiver, or teacher if you have a bad experience like bullying.

Be Seen.  You should use a flashlight when it is dark, foggy, or hard to see. It helps you to see where you are going, but it also helps drivers see you! It is also important to wear bright clothes and use reflective gear.

Look for Traffic.  Watch out for cars at every driveway and intersection. You should look for drivers in parked cars to make sure they aren’t getting ready to move. Don’t dart out in front of parked cars!

Cross the Street Safely.  According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, you can safely cross the street by:

      ·       Stopping at the curb or edge of the street.

      ·       Looking left, right, left and behind you and in front of you for traffic.

      ·       Waiting until no traffic is coming and begin crossing.

      ·       Looking for traffic until you have finished crossing.

      ·       Walking, not running, across the street.

Obey Traffic Signs, Signals and Rules.  You should walk on sidewalks and paths when they are available. If there is not a sidewalk, you should walk facing traffic. Be sure to stop at all stop signs and obey traffic signals. 

The National Center for Safe Routes to School has information on Helping Children Learn Pedestrian Safety Skills: Overview for parents and caregivers. This includes information for parents of children ages 4-6, 7-9, and 10 and older.  Parents should also remember to be a Walking Role Model – wear bright clothes, obey traffic rules, and make sure you practice safe crossing habits. Your children learn a lot from your example. Basics for Pedestrian Safety Brochure 

Safe Walk Zone Maps 











Bicycling to School

Bicycle riding can be a fun and healthy way to get to school, if you ride safely. Here are some important safe riding tips to make sure you are a safe rider!

Follow the Rules of the Road. Make sure you follow all traffic signs and signals, go with the traffic flow, stay alert, watch for vehicles, and wear your helmet. Check out this great list of Safe Riding Habits for more information.

Decide Where to Ride.  Bicyclists ages 10 and over should bicycle on the road like a vehicle on the street, whereas bicyclists under the age of 10 may be more comfortable riding on the sidewalk. This NHTSA reminds riders to make safe choices about where to ride. If you ride on the sidewalk, remember you must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. To assess and build your child’s bicycling skills, check out this brochure: Helping your child be a safe bicyclist.

Be Predictable.  Ride in a straight line. If you ride with friends, you should always ride single file. Always look and make sure it is clear before turning or crossing the street. Use hand signals to let drivers know when you are stopping or turning. Watch out for hazards on the road, like rocks, glass, potholes or parked cars.

Always Wear a Helmet.  Helmets protect your brain and can save your life. If you want information on bicycle helmet laws and safety facts, check out this National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) publication, Bicycle Helmet Use Laws. You should make sure your helmet fits you right. For more information on helmet fitting, see these NHTSA publications, Easy Steps to Properly Fit a Bicycle Helmet, Consejos y pasos para el uso debido del casco para montar bicicleta, Be a “Roll Model”: Wear a Helmet, and Fitting a Bike Helmet.

Practice Your Hand Signals.  Use hand signals well in advance of any turn and scan backwards before you signal. You should: (1) While keeping both hands on the handlebars, scan backwards over your left shoulder to check for traffic; (2) If it is clear, you then signal and turn, again keep checking for traffic by scanning over your shoulder; and (3) If it is not clear, you should wait for a break in traffic before signaling or turning.

Keep Your Bike Maintained. The ABC Quick Check should be used before every ride to make sure your bike is ready to ride.

Basics for Riding Safe Brochure (PDF)