How to Get Kids to School Safely

The trip to school is usually the first trip of the day. It affects children’s health and future transportation habits. The school run represents 20–25% of morning traffic; 50% of children hit by cars near schools are hit by parents of other students.

Travel Awareness:

  • Choose your nearest school and consider relocating or working nearer if necessary. 
  • Teach children road and personal safety.
  • Choose a quiet route if possible and walk or cycle together.
  • Familiarize your children with local public transportation, timetables and independent travel.
  • Make children aware of the locations of hazards on their normal route(s), such as busy streets that they will need to cross.
  • Hang up local walking, cycling and public transportation maps at home. Work with Your Child’s School. Schools can take many initiatives to cut school traffic and make it safer for walkers and cyclists
  • Distribute “safe routes to school” maps.
  • Organize a “walking or cycling school bus,” in which an adult collects children along a prearranged route. In Chicago, 175 schools participate in the Walking School Bus program, and nearly 90% of the city’s 422,000 public school children walk to school.
  • Run/endorse a carpool program.
  • Give out reflective clothing.
  • Request lower speed limits on approach roads (20 mph/30 kph). Create safe crossings, with traffic calming measures and/or crossing guards. Some schools designate drop- off points to avoid congestion.
  • Have carfree school entrances — create a pedestrian- only gathering place or public square in front of the school.
  • Hold cars back until pedestrians and cyclists have left school.
  • Have secure and visible cycle shelters.
  • Have lockers or storage for books, cycling gear and outdoor clothing.
  • To reduce the weight of bags/backpacks, do a home- work review to see if fewer books can be carried.
  • Use “safe routes” as a class topic.
  • Put up a school travel notice board with maps, timetables and carpooling information.

A free toolkit titled “Safe Routes to School” is available from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It provides educators and others with materials to promote walking and biking to school. It includes sections on mapping the routes to school, activities and outreach, and classroom lessons, press releases, posters and more. See Walktoschoolusa.org/srts-start/. In Canada, a wealth of information can be found at Saferoutestoschool.ca









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