Safe Routes to School
The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program helps community leaders, schools and parents improve safety and encourage more children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The program works toward reducing traffic congestion and improving health and the environment, making communities more livable for everyone. In years past, Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency received grant monies from the Active Transportation Program (Caltrans) to coordinate education and encouragement activities for children to walk or bike to school. Activities such as Walk and Bike to School will continue and more activities will be added as additional funding is awarded.
Do you love biking or giving students the opportunity to get to school under their own wheels? The California Highway Patrol offers bike safety assemblies to schools in Shasta County. Contact CHP to organize your school assembly at (530) 242-3229.
Walk to School Day 2021 – October 6th
This year students and their families are encouraged to walk throughout the month of October and track their steps. Students from 8 schools throughout Shasta County participated in 2020. Let’s outpace last year!
The 25th Annual International Walk to School Day is on October 6, 2021.* Walk to School Day is a day when communities from all over the globe come together to celebrate a child’s active and safe trip to school. Teachers, staff, or volunteers are encouraged to coordinate your school’s event using the Getting Started Guide : Walk & Bike to School, and Healthy Shasta staff are available to provide support for planning of Walk to School Day activities at your school.
Let us know your plan to join the fun by registering your school at this link by Friday, October 1, 2021, and you will receive a coordinator’s checklist and fillable poster template.
Students are invited to continue walking throughout October for chances to win prizes and to help their school win a bike rack. The Shasta County school with the highest percent of student participation will be awarded a bike rack for their campus. Parents or guardians can use the Attendance Log to record their child’s participation. Every student who participates will receive a Healthy Shasta Walks sticker and one student per school will have a chance to win a Jamba Juice gift card.
Walk to School Day 2021 Resources
Why Walk to School?
Kids need to move in order to concentrate and be prepared to learn. A morning walk is a great way to get ready for school (or an afternoon walk is a great stretch break after school).
Less traffic around the school means it’s safer to walk/bike, reduces noise and pollution for students with asthma and is great for all! Did you know children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air quality because they breathe 50% more air per pound of body weight than adults?* Childhood asthma rates are one of the most common pollution-related health problems in America. We can all do our part to reduce pollution. Instead of long lines of idling to pick up children from school, park at a nearby location to the school and walk to pick up your child. It can be a fun, relaxing family time to walk together and enjoy being outside.
Walking to School and errands can be a way to add healthy movement to the day.
* We acknowledge that the air quality can impact your ability to get outside and participate in physical activity. It is important to look up the air quality daily in your area and know what the numbers mean to determine if it is safe for you to be outside and walking. AQI is the EPA’s index for reporting air quality.
A few resources you can use to determine air quality are:
If you have an iPhone, open the ‘Maps’ app. In the bottom right corner of the map, you will see the current temperature reading and the AQI right under it.
Walking to School is Fun!
Has your child ever asked if he/she can walk/bike to school? Kids think its fun to walk and bike! Support their desire to walk/bike by walking/biking with them to school. Live too far away to walk? Park a short distance from school and walk from there. If your child takes the bus, walk him/her to the bus stop. Walking to school is a great way for kids to get exercise before starting their school day and relieve congestion in front of the school, making it safer and easier for more children to walk/bike.
Why is Walking to School Important?
Thirty-three percent of children are overweight. Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day for their health. Studies show when children are physically active before school, they are more prepared to learn and can concentrate better in class.
Up to 25% of morning commute traffic is school related. Air quality is noticeably better at schools where many children arrive by bike/on foot and vehicles aren’t idling in the pick up/drop off area.
Remind children of the following safety tips:
- Cross the street at intersections or crosswalks
- Look left, right, and left again before crossing
- Walk in pairs or groups
- Form a walking school bus/bike train (supervised group of children walking/biking to school)
- Don’t talk to or take rides from strangers
Bike to School Day
Why bike to school?
- Kids need to move to concentrate and to be prepared to learn. With state testing happening (soon/now), this is even more reason to start the day off right with a ride to school.
- An afternoon bike ride home is also a way to unwind from the school day and get mid-day exercise.
- Less traffic around the school means it’s safer to walk/bike, reduces noise, and pollution for students with asthma – and is best for all!
May 5, 2021 is National Bike to School Day! To celebrate, we are encouraging students to bike to school during the month of May with a chance to win! Each student who completes the Bike to School short survey tracking form, will earn a bike safety light and has a chance at winning a gift card to Jamba Juice! Ten winners will be selected. Students must attend school in Shasta County.
Sign up as a family team for the Shasta Bike Challenge. Ride recreationally or see how many places you can go as a family by bike. If you are a parent working from home this school year, logistically it may be easier to ride with your child to school. We encourage you to give it a try!
The components of SRTS include the five Es:
Education – teaching pedestrian, bicyclist and traffic safety and creating awareness of the benefits of walking/biking to school.
Encouragement – building interest and enthusiasm by offering incentives to increase the number of students walking/biking to school.
Enforcement – enforcing rules for safe walking, bicycling and driving, along with neighborhood watch programs.
Engineering – slowing down traffic and installing paths, sidewalks, and safer crossings.
Evaluation – assessing the number of children walking/biking to school and finding out why they do it to determine program goals and objectives.
Events and Activities
- Provide training and assistance with coordinating bicycle safety events and helmet fitting
- Provide technical assistance to schools to coordinate annual Walk to School Day (October) and Bike to School Day (May)
- Offer assistance with coordinating ongoing walking/biking school programs
- Offer schools Active Transportation Audits to improve safety of children walking and biking to school
Get Involved with Safe Routes to School at Your Child’s School!
Here are some ideas:
- Form a Walking School Bus (a supervised group of children walking to school)
- Assist with helmet fitting
- Assist with bike rodeos/other safety events
- Coordinate Walk to School Day or Bike to School Day
- Integrate Safe Routes to School program into class curriculum
- Walk and bike more in your neighborhood
- Be a role model
Walk to School Day Celebrating and training schools to coordinate Walk to School Day (annual event in October) since 2008
Bike to School Day Celebrating and training schools to coordinate Bike to School Day (annual event in May) since 2012
Walking School Buses Training school staff and parents to be walking leaders and crossing guards
Success Stories: Public Works and Community Partners Collaborate to Improve Walking and Biking
School Bikeway at Lema Ranch
The McConnell Foundation has added trails and made some trails designated “bikeway to school” to both Mountain View Middle School and Redding School of the Arts. ALL Lema Ranch trails are now open to bicycles! See map to see how these trails can connect your neighborhood to school.
The Safe Routes to school Program works with community partners and City and County Public Works Departments to improve infrastructure for children walking and biking to school. Such improvements in the community include:
Walking and Biking to School Made Easier in Shasta County
- Anderson Middle School – Cougar Tracks Map
- Things Parents Say – video about walking/biking to school
Check out this great helmet fitting video:
For more information contact:
Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency