- What is the Safe Routes to School program?
- How can I start a Safe Routes to School program in my community?
- Is walking/biking to school safe for kids?
- As a parent, what can I do to encourage safer routes to school?
- I’m a teacher. What can I do in the classroom to put kids on a healthier path?
- What is Walk to School Day?
- Who can I contact about Safe Routes Nebraska?
Q What is the Safe Routes to School program?
A At Safe Routes Nebraska, we’re committed to helping communities build safe routes, so kids can walk and bike more . . . getting the exercise they need for happy, healthy lives. Creating environments that foster safe walking and biking enables children to make regular activity a habit. And building these habits today will help them become healthier adults tomorrow.
The goal of Safe Routes Nebraska (and the National Center for Safe Routes to School) is to provide school and community groups with the funds they need to build safer routes to school. These improvements include engineering solutions as well as safety training, awareness, and strategies to encourage children to walk and bike to school safely.
Q How can I start a Safe Routes to School program in my community?
A The first step to a successful Safe Routes to School program is bringing together the right people. Talk to leaders at your school, your local department of roads, and members of the community. You’ll find that by working together you’ll be better able to identify the roadblocks that are stopping kids from walking and biking to school safely. From there, the next step is to come up with a plan and apply for funds from Safe Routes Nebraska. Please see the Applicants section for more details on the funding process.
- Q Is walking/biking to school safe for kids?
A Generally, yes. Some routes to school lack sidewalks, traffic signals, or other infrastructure improvements that would maximize child safety. That’s exactly what Safe Routes Nebraska is here for—to help you build routes that are structurally safer. Safe Routes Nebraska funds can also be used to help educate children and the community about safe walking and biking practices.
Beyond that, experts agree that children 10 years of age or older can walk or bike unsupervised once they learn the rules of the road. Teachers and parents can use Safe Routes materials to help make sure children understand how to safely walk and bike to school. Educators should see the Safe Routes in the Classroom section for ways to educate students on safe walking and biking. Parents should visit the Teaching Your Kids Safety section to make sure that their kids know how to keep themselves safe while walking and biking to school.
Q As a parent, what can I do to encourage safer routes to school?
A One way to encourage safer routes is to encourage your children to engage in safe behaviors as they walk and bike to school. One way to do this is to lead by example. Walk or bike the route to school with your child. Point out potential dangers, show your child how to obey crossing signals, look for cars, properly position their bike helmets, and the like. After a few days of doing this, your children will have a great understanding of how to get to school safely. Visit the Teaching Your Kids Safety section to learn more.
Another way to ensure safer routes to school is to encourage school and community groups to apply for funds from Safe Routes Nebraska. This way, they can make improvements to the physical route that will benefit your children and encourage more community involvement in the Safe Routes effort . . . so everyone wins! For more ideas on how to approach school and community groups, visit the Getting Involved section.
Q I’m a teacher. What can I do in the classroom to put kids on a healthier path?
A Teachers have a tremendous opportunity to educate children on the importance of walking and biking to school and how to do both safely. By helping them understand the important effect being active has on their health, teachers can help children want to walk and bike to school. And by teaching them safety strategies for walking and biking, you can help ensure that they’re prepared to navigate the streets safely. Please see the Safe Routes in the Classroom section for more strategies to teach kids to be safer while walking and biking to school.
Teachers are also in a position to help start a Safe Routes to School program in their own schools and communities. Go to Building a Safe Routes Program to find out what you can do to help your community get Safe Routes Nebraska funds to make a difference in the health of your school children.
Q What is Walk to School Day?
A It’s a celebration that encourages children who don’t ordinarily walk to school to do so. It’s also a great way to kick off and get media attention for your Safe Routes to School program. Annually, International Walk to School Day is usually held in October and Spring Walk to School Day is held in April. Find out more about International Walk to School Day.
Q Who can I contact about Safe Routes Nebraska?
A The Safe Routes Nebraska project coordinator is Angela Barry. Please contact her at: