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Back to School Safety Month: Walking & Biking to School

Welcome back to MOParent’s three-part series on safe school transit. If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here. Today, we’re going to talk about the advantages of walking and bike riding to school, including ideas for group walks and rides and safety tips for your child.

Good Health & Good for the Environment
Walking or riding a bike to school keeps kids active and healthy, and both options are good for the environment, too. Your family may even save a few dollars on fuel over the school year if your child walks or rides a bike each day.

Great Ideas from Other Parents
Parents in some communities are forming “walk to school buses” and “bicycle trains”. Two adults supervise as the “engine” and the “caboose”, and the bus or train picks up neighborhood kids along the way. Learn more by vising these websites:
Walk to School Bus 
Bicycle Trains 

Safety in Numbers
If it’s an option, consider walking or riding to school with your child. If that’s not possible, here are some other ideas about how to create safety in numbers:
· Talk to neighbors about your children walking to school together
· If you have more than one child in the same school, teach them to walk together
· Have a family friend who lives too far from school to walk? Invite them to drop their child off at your house in the morning so that your children can walk together

Know the Way
Be sure that he or she is 100% comfortable with the route to school, and that you’ve set ground rules for who they may walk with, how to avoid strangers, and whether or not diversions from the route (if any) are allowed.

Bicycle Safety
If you have your own bike, ride the route to school with your child a few times before letting them ride independently. Talk with your child about bicycle traffic laws and right-of-way, and make absolutely sure that their bike and helmet fit them properly. Finally, teach your child that anytime he or she is on a bicycle, a helmet should be worn.

Helpful Links
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association:Offers a variety of tips and resources ranging from proper helmet fit and kids’ bicycle safety worksheets to a bike safety checklist and traffic safety facts.
The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation: Bicycle education classes, road rules, safety skills, and an entire section devoted to teaching kids about bike safety.
Bicycle Safety Activity Kit: Fun materials designed for parents & kids, including games and other resources

SafeTomorrow on the MOParent Blog
Come back tomorrow for the third and final segment in this three-part series on safe school commutes; a post with surprising safety information about school buses and driving your child to school.

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