Walk + Bike 'School Bus' Guidebook

According to the Guide, there are plenty of great reasons to walk and bike to school - less traffic, safer streets, cleaner air - but one of the best is that children and parents will be healthier. With obesity rates skyrocketing and only one-quarter of Americans getting the Surgeon General's recommended daily dose of exercise (just 30 minutes), it's an ideal time to encourage people to walk + bike to school for their own health and well-being. Walking or biking to school protects the environment and your health. When children decide to lace-up their sneakers to walk, or strap on their bike helmets to pedal to school instead of riding in a car, they reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted by automobiles. Our Safe Routes to School program contains engineering and enforcement components that can alleviate the conditions that cause these problems. Through improved street design, such as crosswalk improvements, installation of sidewalks, speed bumps, roundabouts, curb extensions and other engineering techniques, pedestrian and bicyclist safety can be markedly improved, reducing accidents, and calming streets. The promotion of bicycling and walking to school provides an opportunity to address safety. Every year, about 25,000 child pedestrians are injured by motor vehicles. Reducing the risk of injury includes teaching children pedestrian and bicycle skills. It also means reminding drivers to watch for others using the road. Hazardous conditions along routes to school need to be identified and fixed.

Some of the best ways to increase the safety of a child's walk or bike to school are to:

  • provide safe, well-maintained walkways separate from vehicles;
  • teach children to cross streets at marked crossings, and provide ample, well-designed, accessible, and when necessary monitored crosswalks;
  • slow traffic in neighborhoods and near schools;
  • organize Walking + Biking School Buses - adult-led groups walking and biking safe routes to school - in your neighborhood;
  • teach bicycle and pedestrian safety at home and in school classrooms The site provides links to answer questions that parents, teachers, principals, elected officials, community members and students might have.

There is also information on how to join an existing school team or to create your own team for your school. There is an extensive list of resources that includes links to Key Media Messages; Encouragement Programs; Walk and Bike to School Day; the Walking School Bus; Safe Routes to School; Reasons to Walk and Bike to School; Risks to Driving to School; Bike Safety Videos; Walkability and Bikeability Checklists.

Authoring Organization: 
Oregon Walk + Bike to School, Bicycle Transportation Alliance/Willamette Pedestrian Coalition

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