Safe Routes to School
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) helps community leaders, schools and parents improve safety and encourage more children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The effort 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 and/or walking and giving students the opportunity to get to school under their own power? Why not coordinate a Walk or Bike to School event or lead a walking school bus? See information below on how to get involved.
Walk to School Day, October 4, 2023
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
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.
Bike to School Day
Bike to School Day 2024 – May TBD
The 12th Annual National Bike to School Day is typically the first Wednesday in May. Bike to School Day is a day when communities come together to celebrate a child’s active and safe trip to school. Teachers, staff, and volunteers are encouraged to coordinate their school’s event using the Getting Started Guide : Walk & Bike to School.
Please register your school’s event with the link below and watch the volunteer training for important safety information. Complete the online training to receive the coordinator’s checklist, helmets, prizes, and promotional materials.
Encourage your students to bike to school this May!
Bike to School Day Resources
Looking for more biking fun? Sign up as a school workplace of staff or a family team for the Shasta Bike Challenge. Ride recreationally or see how many places you can go by bike. Try replacing at least one car trip with a bike trip in May!
The California Highway Patrol offers bike safety assemblies to schools in Shasta County. Contact CHP to organize your school assembly at (530) 242-3229.
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!
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
For more information contact:
Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency